skip to main content


Title: Atmospheric Gravity Waves Observed in the Nightglow Following the 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Abstract

Nighttime airglow images observed at the low‐latitude site of São João do Cariri (7.4°S, 36.5°W) showed the presence of a medium‐scale atmospheric gravity wave (AGW) associated with the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse. The AGW had a horizontal wavelength of1,618 km, observed period of152 min, and propagation direction of200° clockwise from the north. The spectral characteristics of this wave are in good agreement with theoretical predictions for waves generated by eclipses. Additionally, the wave was reverse ray‐traced, and the results show its path crossing the Moon's shadow of the total solar eclipse in the tropical North Atlantic ocean at stratospheric altitudes. Investigation about potential driving sources for this wave indicates the total solar eclipse as the most likely candidate. The optical measurements were part of an observational campaign carried out to detect the impact of the August 21 eclipse in the atmosphere at low latitudes.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10444629
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume:
47
Issue:
17
ISSN:
0094-8276
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We simulated the effects of the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse on the ionosphere‐thermosphere system with the Global Ionosphere Thermosphere Model (GITM). The simulations demonstrate that the horizontal neutral wind modifies the eclipse‐induced reduction in total electron content (TEC), spreading it equatorward and westward of the eclipse path. The neutral wind also affects the neutral temperature and mass density responses through advection and the vertical wind modifies them further through adiabatic heating/cooling and compositional changes. The neutral temperature response lags behind totality by about 35 min, indicating an imbalance between heating and cooling processes during the eclipse, while the ion and electron temperature responses have almost no lag, indicating they are in quasi steady state. Simulated ion temperature and vertical drift responses are weaker than observed by the Millstone Hill Incoherent Scatter Radar, while simulated reductions in electron density and temperature are stronger. The model misses the observed posteclipse enhancement in electron density, which could be due to the lack of a plasmasphere in GITM. The simulated TEC response appears too weak compared to Global Positioning System TEC measurements, but this might be because the model does not include electron content above 550‐km altitude. The simulated response in the neutral wind after the eclipse is too weak compared to Fabry Perot interferometer observations in Cariri, Brazil, which suggests that GITM recovers too quickly after the eclipse. This could be related to GITM heating processes being too strong and electron densities being too high at low latitudes.

     
    more » « less
  2. The goal of this project is to conduct the first geographically distributed, low-frequency skywave propagation measurements during a solar eclipse. There is a lack of knowledge about how radio waves below frequencies of 500 kHz are affected by a total eclipse and a lack of experimental data reflecting these low-frequency radio wave transmissions at geographically diverse locations during an eclipse. A low-frequency band receiver system for people across the United States to assemble and use is designed, allowing for a crowd-sourced collection of measurements of relative signal strength of the WWVB and Dixon low-frequency station signals during the eclipse over North America on August 21, 2017. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The impacts of solar eclipses on the ionosphere‐thermosphere system particularly the composition, density, and transport are studied using numerical simulation and subsequent model‐data comparison. We introduce a newly developed model of a solar eclipse mask (shadow) at extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths—PyEclipse—that computes the corresponding shadowing as a function of space, time, and wavelength of the input solar image. The current model includes interfaces for Solar Dynamics Observatory and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites EUV telescopes providing solar images at nine different wavelengths. We show the significance of the EUV eclipse shadow spatial variability and that it varies significantly with wavelength owing to the highly variable solar coronal emissions. We demonstrate geometrical differences between the EUV eclipse shadow compared to a geometrically symmetric simplification revealing changes in occultation vary ±20%. The EUV eclipse mask is validated with in situ solar flux measurements by the PRoject for Onboard Autonomy 2/Large Yield Radiometer instrument suite showing the model captures the morphology and amplitudes of transient variability while the modeled gradients are slower. The effects of spatially EUV eclipse masks are investigated with Global Ionosphere Thermosphere Model for the 21 August 2017 eclipse. The results reveal that the modeled EUV eclipse mask, in comparison with the geometrically symmetric approximation, causes changes in the Total Electron Content in order of ±20%, 5%–20% in F‐region plasma drift, and 20%–30% in F‐region neutral winds.

     
    more » « less
  4. The great American total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017 offered a fortuitous opportunity to study the response of the atmosphere and ionosphere using a myriad of ground instruments. We have used the network of U.S. Global Positioning System receivers to examine perturbations in maps of ionospheric total electron content (TEC). Coherent large-scale variations in TEC have been interpreted by others as gravity wave-induced traveling ionospheric disturbances. However, the solar disk had two active regions at that time, one near the center of the disk and one at the edge, which resulted in an irregular illumination pattern in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV)/X-ray bands. Using detailed EUV occultation maps calculated from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly images, we show excellent agreement between TEC perturbations and computed gradients in EUV illumination. The results strongly suggest that prominent large-scale TEC disturbances were consequences of direct EUV modulation, rather than gravity wave-induced traveling ionospheric disturbances. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    In this study, we utilized both ground‐based and space‐borne observations including total electron content (TEC) from Beidou geostationary satellites, two‐dimensional TEC maps from the worldwide dense Global Navigation Satellite System receivers, ionosondes, and in situ electron density (Ne) and electron temperature (Te) from both Swarm and China Seismo‐Electromagnetic Satellite satellites, to investigate the low‐latitude ionospheric responses to the annular solar eclipse on 21 June 2020. The decrease in TEC during the eclipse at low latitudes showed a local time dependence with the largest depletions in the noon and afternoon sectors. It was also found that the TEC depletions at different latitudes in the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) region over the East Asian sector cannot solely be explained by the solar flux changes associated with the obscuration rate. The differences in TEC reduction between stations can be more than a factor of 2 at latitudes with the same obscuration rate of over 90%. Compared with TEC variations in the Northern Hemisphere, the TEC also underwent a considerable decrease in the EIA region in the conjugate hemisphere without eclipse shadow. Meanwhile, thehmF2near the magnetic equator increased around the onset of the eclipse, indicating an enhancement of the eastward equatorial electric field. Furthermore, the TEC decrease during the eclipse in the EIA region in both hemispheres lasted for a long period of more than 7 hr after the eclipse, with a TEC depletion of 2–6 TEC units. TheNefrom Swarm and China Seismo‐Electromagnetic Satellite satellites showed a complicated variation after the eclipse, whereas no visible change was observed inTe. The enhanced equatorial electric field, neutral wind changes, and the associated plasma transport act together to generate the observed ionospheric effects at low latitudes during the eclipse. Our results also suggest that the eclipse‐induced perturbations of dynamic processes can continue to impact the ionosphere after the eclipse.

     
    more » « less