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Our Expert Voices conversation about the 2017 solar eclipse.

One big question scientists still have about the Sun is why its corona, the outer atmosphere, is so hot — millions of degrees — while the surface below is only thousands! Eclipses provide unique opportunities to get higher quality and speed images than are normally available, either from space or from the ground. During the total eclipse, we're using telescopes mounted on the noses of NASA's WB-57 research jets to observe the solar corona. By observing waves in it and measuring their direction, size, and speed, we hope to better understand how energy is transported up into the corona. With two jets flying at 50,000 feet, we'll get 7-and-a-half minutes of totality compared to only 2-and-a-half on the ground.

What it means: Studying how the corona is formed and how it evolves will lead to better understanding "space weather" hazards like flares and coronal mass ejections that can impact Earth and damage satellites, interrupt GPS and radio, and knock out power grids.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Microsoft

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

3 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.