February 28, 2024

SIU’s Journey to the Eclipse talk to focus on NASA mission to the sun

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A series of public talks about the upcoming total eclipse continues Friday, March 1, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a scientist discussing a solar probe orbiting the sun.

nour_raouafi.jpgNour Rawafi, an astrophysicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and lead project scientist of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission, will speak at 3 p.m. at Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. The free, public event is the second-to-last Journey to the Eclipse talk planned at SIU prior to the April 8 total solar eclipse.

The Parker Solar Probe was launched in August 2018 with a goal of reaching a solar orbit and collecting data on solar activity and space weather. On Dec. 24, 2024, the spacecraft is scheduled to reach its closest approach – fewer than 4 million miles from the sun.

At this relatively close distance, the probe will experience heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.  The data collected by Parker Solar Probe will help scientists learn about the sun’s atmosphere and how solar activity can affect life on Earth.

Rawafi earned his doctorate from the University of Paris XI in Orsay, France. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2008, he worked at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the National Solar Observatory in Arizona.

The Journey to the Eclipse series is aimed at bringing together experts in astronomy, solar eclipses and other sun-related topics for students, faculty and staff of SIU, as well as members of the Southern Illinois community. The series began in April 2023.

Each talk is at 3 p.m. on the first Friday of each month in Guyon Auditorium. The talks also will stream live via Zoom and be recorded. For more information and links go to SIU’s eclipse website.

The final Journey to the Eclipse talk is set for Friday, April 5, just days before the eclipse that Monday.