General Meeting

Next Meeting:  Friday, August 4, 2017

Open to the Public:  TAAA encourages the public to join our general meetings held on the first Friday of the month in the Steward Observatory Lecture Hall (Room N210) on the U of A Campus.

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6:30 pm – Introductory Presentation

Title:  To Be Determined

Presenter:  TBD


7:30 pm – Main Presentation

Title:  Science at the 2017 Eclipse: The Citizen CATE Experiment

Presenter:  Matt Penn, Ph.D., National Solar Observatory

The summer’s total eclipse presents a special opportunity for a group of citizen scientists including scientists, high school students, and educators. The Citizen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment will monitor the outer atmosphere of the sun, the corona, using a network of 68 identical telescopes located at various places along the path of totality. The individual high quality images taken during the approximate 2 minutes of totality at each site will be combined to create a uninterrupted 93 minute sequence of the inner solar corona. All of the CATE equipment has been distributed to the volunteer groups which have been trained with a  set of 11 workshops run at locations across the country. The teams are currently practicing their techniques using the Sun and the Moon from their home locations. CATE has been funded with support from a combination of federal, corporate and private sources.  Dozens of education and public outreach events have already been held, and many more are scheduled as part of CATE.
CATE data will sample the region around the sun at wavelengths between 480nm and 680nm. With 1.5 arcsec pixels, the transverse velocity sensitivity of the CATE data will be roughly from 1-150 km/s. CATE sites will collect a sequence of 8 exposures from 0.4 msec up to 1.3 sec duration. These exposures will be used to produce one high-dynamic range image every 2.1 seconds. The expected signal to noise should allow brightness fluctuations of about 5% to be detected. The initial science goal is to measure the solar wind velocity and acceleration in polar plumes as the wind accelerates from 1 to 150 km/s in the CATE field-of-view. However, many other scientific results are anticipated.