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Our Expert Voices conversation about the 2017 solar eclipse.

Anyone who has ever seen a picture of Earth taken from deep space can be forgiven for thinking of these two words: "splendid isolation." But nothing could be further from the truth: Earth is profoundly connected to our star and the total solar eclipse drives this point home, scientifically and spiritually.

New view: Years ago, Big Thinkers held Earth and the Sun to be a system. Now we know that they weren't thinking big enough. Like Earth, every world in the solar system is connected to its star. The fingerprints of solar activity stretch from the bright core of the Sun to the surface chemistry of Mercury and the tattered atmosphere of Mars to the dark void 5 billion miles beyond Pluto where the Sun's magnetic field piles up against the plasma clouds of interstellar space. The central role of the Sun puts us just one degree of separation away from scores of planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, and comets throughout the solar system.

The bottom line: The Sun's domain is huge — and hugely complex. We need to apply the intellectual tools of astrophysics, magnetospheric physics, atmospheric chemistry, aeronomy, meteorology, geophysics, and electrical engineering — threads of science that have long been separated by artificial boundaries and academic labels — in order to fully understand its effect on Earth and other worlds.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.