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UH astronomers prepare for trip to Antarctica to study complete solar eclipse

Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute of Astronomy head to Antarctica this week to observe a total solar eclipse on Dec. 4.

A 14-member team, the Solar Wind Sherpas, will observe the eclipse off the coast of Antarctica — the first time the team will observe the sky from the water.

Sage Constantinou is a graduate student and member of the expedition. This is his third eclipse expedition.

"It’s unlike anything you can imagine. The whole sky goes dark, everything gets cold," he said.

"You wouldn’t think, instantaneously the air temperature drops. All the animals in the region just start freaking out, birds, dogs, everything. The sky just lights up with the sun’s corona," Constantinou told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

The observations will help researchers better understand space weather and enhance GPS and satellite communications. Studying the sun also helps researchers better understand the other stars in the universe.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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