Is there any current scientific value for studying eclipses today?
During the last century, the precise timing and track of totality could be used to make ultra-precise measurements of the lunar orbit and improve the mathematical model for the gravitational interactions between earth and the moon. In 1919, a total solar eclipse was used to test Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Studies of the solar corona during totality were also used to examine its structure and changes in time, and to relate the features seen with details on the solar surface. Currently, there have been attempts to detect interplanetary dust falling into the sun by searching for its faint infrared light beyond the corona. There are also studies of the solar transition region being performed by the glimpses of it provided during totality. Recently, lunar profile data from the NASA LRO mission have been used to predict the exact timing and brilliance of Bailey’s Beads shortly before totality. So new scientific uses for this spectacular phenomenon are found nearly every year!