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August 2017 Solar Eclipse Left Ripples in Ionosphere: Research

28 December 2017

The shadowed zone, as Gizmodo explained, sees a marked drop in heat energy, and because that zone isn't a single static location, but moves along as the moon does, it creates a bow wave effect as it travels; a ripple of contrasting, decreased heat energy moving across the atmosphere.

These atmospheric bow waves are much like those that spread out in the water behind a boat, the International Business Times noted, but instead of water, the waves were observed in the Earth's ionosphere - a part of the planet's upper atmosphere - during the August 21 solar eclipse over the U.S. Researchers have suspected this phenomenon for a long time and the August Solar eclipse offered the flawless opportunity to prove their theory: bow waves exist. The scientists used data from satellites, and 2,000 sensors placed at different locations across the U.S., Gizmodo reports.

A study based on the observations first appeared online December 4 and was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Tuesday.

Researchers added that the impact was similar to atmospheric "bow waves", like the outermost waves of a ship's wake. In addition to blocking out the light, the moon also blocks the sun's heat, meaning the atmosphere quickly cools inside the eclipse shadow. The "Great American Eclipse" in August 2017 was an important event, much awaited by astronomers and scientific community. At altitudes where water vapor and ozone can efficiently convert the sun's ultraviolet radiation to heat, the sudden temperature change was expected to cause bow waves. "That was really very interesting to us". The Global Navigation Satellite System receivers managed to detect atmospheric ripples in the ionosphere of the central and eastern areas in the U.S.

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Geomagnetic storms can potentially disrupt satellite systems, not to mention our electrical power grids, according to Haystack Observatory. Still, Zhang told Gizmodo that there is no need to worry about this phenomena in the Earth's atmosphere resulting in any damage like that. The scientists stated that it is safe and has given many opportunities to various research work.

In August, Joshua Semeter professor of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University had stated that, bow waves which are also known as Stern Waves were the phenomena and why will capture the waves during the eclipse.

"It's like a controlled experiment", Semeter told Boston University in August. "Mother Nature is providing us a nice experimental environment", he further added.

August 2017 Solar Eclipse Left Ripples in Ionosphere: Research