Hundreds of millions of people will witness next week’s total solar eclipse across North America, and solar physicists from around the globe are flocking to join them. Eclipses offer a brief glimpse of the Sun’s ghostly surrounding atmosphere – the solar corona – normally kept invisible by the Sun’s sheer glare. But the corona will soon be opened up for more sustained study: today in Belgium ESA has unveiled the pair of spacecraft making up its new Proba-3 mission, planned to produce orbital solar eclipse events on demand.

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