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coronagraph

coronagraph (kərōˈnəgrăfˌ) [key], device invented by the French astronomer B. Lyot (1931) for the purpose of observing the corona of the sun and solar prominences occurring in the chromosphere. Because of the intense light of the sun, the corona and chromosphere can ordinarily be seen only during a total eclipse. The coronagraph consists of two refracting telescopes in tandem. A solid disk placed in front of the prime focus of the first telescope plays the part of the moon and eclipses the sun's image in the telescope so that only the outer layers of the sun's atmosphere are focused by the second telescope onto photographic film. A monochromatic filter is also used to improve optical clarity and remove chromatic aberration.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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