Canyon Observation Seasons & Alignments Time References Webcast


coronagraphThis coronagraph image was taken by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. A coronagraph is a special type of telescope that works by creating an artificial eclipse. Ordinarily, the bright light of the sun drowns out most of the detail of the corona, but a coronagraph uses a circular shade to block out the sun so the surrounding corona can be seen. In this image, you can see two coronal mass ejections-one at two o'clock, the other at eight o'clock-erupting from opposite sides of the sun.
petroglyphCompare the coronagraph with this petroglyph, near Una Vida at Chaco Canyon. The petroglyph is thought by some to represent the total solar eclipse of AD 1097. The curly projections could have been the illuminated corona, which glows brightly during totality. The curly halo might also suggest the sun was undergoing a coronal mass ejection, with coronal material being flung outward toward the earth.