The sun becomes a thin red crescent over China just before it is completely covered by the moon in a picture taken on July 22, 2009, by eclipse expert Jay Pasachoff
From his vantage point on the terrace of a remote mountain hotel, Pasachoff and his team collected pictures, temperature readings, and other data during Wednesday's total solar eclipse
. Pasachoff hopes to improve understanding of the sun's corona, which is normally not visible from Earth, because it's fainter than the blue sky created by our atmosphere.
Although it may seem old-fashioned, eclipse chasing is still an important tool for studying the sun, Pasachoff argues. Even orbiting probes can't see everything in the sun's corona, but combining satellite images with observations made from Earth is a good way to get the whole picture.
(Find out other ways eclipse chasers have advanced science, from proving Einstein's theories to finding "other Earths" outside the solar system
Photograph by Jay Pasachoff