Solar eclipse caused bow waves in Earth’s atmosphere | MIT News
The celebrated Great American Eclipse of August 2017 crossed the continental U.S. in 90 minutes, and totality lasted no longer than a few minutes at any one location. The event is well in the rear-view mirror now, but scientific investigation into the effects of the moon’s shadow on the Earth’s atmosphere is still being hotly pursued, and interesting new findings are surfacing at a rapid pace. These include significant observations by scientists at MIT’s Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts.
One kind of these new waves, known as #ionospheric_bow_waves, has been predicted for more than 40 years to exist in the wake of an eclipse passage. Researchers at MIT’s Haystack Observatory and the University of Tromsø in Norway confirmed the existence of ionospheric bow waves definitively for the first time during the August 2017 event. An international team led by Haystack Observatory scientists studied ionospheric electron content data collected by a network of more than 2,000 GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receivers across the nation. Based on this work, Haystack’s Shunrong Zhang and colleagues published an article in December in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on the results showing the newly detected ionospheric bow waves.
The moon’s shadow created ionospheric “bow waves” in its wake during the August eclipse, as shown in this animation of total electron content measurements.