University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Tuesday, November 14th 2017
12:20 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in Tate 301-20
Speaker: Jenna Samra, CFA, Harvard
Subject: Eclipse Science Results from the Airborne Infrared Spectrometer (AIR-Spec)

On August 21, 2017, the Airborne Infrared Spectrometer (AIR-Spec) observed the total solar eclipse at an altitude of 14 km from aboard the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V research aircraft. The instrument successfully observed the five coronal emission lines that it was designed to measure: Si X (1.43µm), S XI (1.92µm), Fe IX (2.85µm), Mg VIII (3.03µm), and Si IX (3.94µm). The Fe IX observation is likely the first of this line. The linewidths, peak intensities, and center wavelengths of all five lines were measured radially outward from the limb at four positions in the corona. One of the positions sampled a prominence, where a number of H I lines were also observed. The telluric absorption at 14 km was significant near some of the lines, which has implications for future ground-based infrared instruments. Several follow-on experiments are being proposed to expand on the results from the 2017 eclipse. These include a re-flight of AIR-Spec during the 2019 total eclipse, development of a spectropolarimeter operating at AIR-Spec wavelengths, and a laboratory study of infrared coronal emission lines.

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