CONTACT: David F. Salisbury, News Service (650) 725-1944;
Stanford solar physicists take part in eclipse webcast
Stanford solar physicists Phillip Scherrer and Todd Hoeksema, and their children, will participate this week in a webcast on the total solar eclipse that will occur on Thursday in the southern Caribbean.
The production is being staged by the San Francisco Exploratorium, Discovery Online and NASA. It will consist of two live webcasts: one on Wednesday, the night before the eclipse, from 7 to 9 p.m. PST, and one during the eclipse on Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. PST.
Observers stationed along the path of totality will share live images of the eclipse with a studio audience at the Exploratorium and an Internet audience. In addition, the webcast will explore the science, research and history of eclipses and the sun's corona.
Hoeksema, with his son Nathan and Scherrer's daughter Amy, will be featured in the Wednesday evening webcast between 7:25 and 7:40 p.m. First, Nathan and Amy will describe their experience viewing the recent eclipse in Baja California. Then Hoeksema a member of Stanford's Solar Oscillation Investigation Group that is studying the sun using instruments on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft and Robert Lin from the University of California-Berkeley will explain what a solar eclipse is and why studying it is important.
"We've put together a videodisc that shows what we expect people will see during the eclipse," says Hoeksema, "and then we will compare it with what actually happens. We've made these kinds of predictions before, but this will be the first time that we've compared them in real time."
Between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Scherrer, who heads the Stanford SOHO group, and Janet Luhman from the University of California-Berkeley will discuss what scientists have learned recently about the sun and why it is important. The eclipse will occur between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. After the eclipse, Scherrer will compare his group's prediction with what actually happened.
There is no special charge to the join the studio audience, only the normal Exploratorium admission price. To view the program over the Internet, viewers must have at least a 28.8 Kbps Internet connection and must be running either Netscape 2.0 or better or Microsoft Explorer 3.0 or better. To receive the audio from the webcast, a RealAudio player is required. The URL is www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse.
By David F. Salisbury