Why this year’s solar eclipse is great for scientists and the start of something even greater

Excerpt of my op-ed in the Huffington Post

Image credit: National Solar Observatory/AURA/NSF

We are always looking at a bigger picture and how we can increase what we know about our universe.

In 2020, one of our agency’s biggest undertakings will come to fruition as the NSF Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST)
comes online on Haleakala in Maui. It will be the largest, most
powerful solar telescope in the world, sometimes described as the “Swiss
Army knife” of solar telescopes because of the number and flexibility
of the tools attached to it to enhance how we collect data about the
sun, our nearest star. Although it is a telescope, it will seem more
like a microscope on the sun as it provides new, significantly more
detailed imagery than we’ve been able to obtain previously.
Additionally, DKIST will be able to observe the solar corona with
special instruments even when total solar eclipses are not in the
offing.

This
is truly the kind of science and technology that only NSF support can
achieve: state-of-the-art technology that yields groundbreaking
discoveries and pushes forward the frontiers of what we can learn about
our universe.

Read more, here.