Williams Sigma Xi Spring Lectures

Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - "Our Sun - From the Ground and From Space"

Abstract:  A general orientation to studies of the Sun, including observations of solar phenomena such as sunspots, the solar-activity cycle, and the Sun's outer layers. In his highly illustrated lecture, he will discuss observations from ground-based observatories and from solar spacecraft--including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and the Solar Ultraviolet Imager recently launched on GOES-16.

Friday, April 14, 2017 - "The Great American Eclipse of August 21"
(reception to follow)

Abstract:  This second lecture of the pair will concentrate on what we have learned from solar eclipse expeditions to observe the solar corona, often including Williams College undergraduates.  In his highly illustrated talk, he will concentrate on the most recent expeditions, including total eclipses in 2012 from Australia; 2013 from Gabon; 2015 from Svalbard; and 2016 from Indonesia; and annular eclipses most recently from Réunion in the Indian Ocean in 2016 and Patagonia, Argentina, in February 2017.  He will discuss plans and projects for this summer's total solar eclipse, with the path of totality ranging from Oregon to South Carolina, and what will or won't be seen from outside totality with a partial eclipse of 71% (coverage of the Sun's diameter by the Moon) in Williamstown, meaning that the sky will be approximately 300,000 times brighter than it will be in the path of totality.  He will describe plans for the 8 undergraduates who will participate, aided by the Freeman Foote Field Trip Fund in addition to his NSF and National Geographic grants; with additional Williams faculty and alumni also participating in his expedition to Salem, Oregon.  He will describe outreach efforts for reaching students and others in the public for the 2017 Great American Eclipse, including his participation in the PBS NOVA special.

Friday, April 14, 2017 at 4:15pm

Thompson Chemistry, Wege Auditorium