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Solar observatory in Big Bear grapples with prospect of being eclipsed
Solar observatory in Big Bear grapples with prospect of being eclipsed

Motors whirred as a gleaming white dome slowly opened, allowing one of the premier solar telescopes in the world to track the magnetic fields and exploding flares of the sun. In a few hours, computers would translate that data into detailed video and pictures of the sun’s turbulent surface. Images captured weeks earlier already graced the monitors in a darkened control room at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. They revealed mysterious displays of dancing and flashing lights hovering between bubbles of solar plasma. John Varsik, a research astronomer at the observatory perched high up in the San Bernardino Mountains, allowed a boyish grin to spread across his face. These lights...

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