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Corona Definition

The corona is the Sun's outer atmosphere, visible during a total solar eclipse. For example, it glows when the Moon blocks the Sun's light.

View Lesson on Solar & Lunar Eclipses
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Solar & Lunar Eclipses

Fun Facts

  • Being 1 million times fainter than the light from the Sun itself, coronal light contains nothing that could cause blindness.
  • The corona is made of hot gas and plasma.
  • The corona extends for millions of miles into space.

Why Do We Need To Know About Corona

Learning about the corona helps us understand solar eclipses better and why they’re important for space research. When we watch the corona during a total solar eclipse, we get special information about the sun’s atmosphere. This is key for learning about the sun and predicting space weather, which is useful for people working in astronomy to help find new planets.

The study of the corona is not just for fun. Astronomers use what they learn about the corona to find planets outside our solar system, some of which might be like Earth. This shows why studying the corona is important for exploring space and could help us find other planets where life is possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the Sun is so much larger in size than the Moon, why do they appear to be the same size?
The Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun and about 400 times closer to Earth. Those proportions cause the Sun and the Moon to look about the same size.
Why was it important that Dr. Jeff use a large ball to represent the Sun, a marble to represent Earth, and a bead to represent the Moon in his model?
Although all models have limitations, Dr. Jeff was trying to accurately represent the size of each object in the Earth-Sun-Moon system relative to one another.
How would the Earth-Sun-Moon system change if the Moon’s orbital plane weren’t tilted 5°?
We would have an increase in the number eclipses we can see because of the orbit of the Moon around Earth.
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