STATES CHRONICLE – The August 2017 eclipse was a major astronomical event, which caused significant effects on our planet’s atmosphere. These effects resemble some waves, and represent a phenomenon which has been explained in theory, but has never been explained before.
The great eclipse formed bow waves in the ionosphere
Researchers from the University of Tromsø and the Haystack Observatory of MIT decided to study the effects the grand eclipse had on our planet. This way, they managed to observe for the first time the waves it formed in the ionosphere. With the help of 2,000 detectors spread everywhere on the US territory, they collected data from the satellites which helped them locate these waves.
The existence of these formations was theorized, and they were well-known as bow waves. However, these observations constituted the first practical evidence of the waves. The study on the phenomenon was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
This is the first time when researchers observe bow waves
During a lunar eclipse, the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking its light from reaching Earth. However, it doesn’t only block the light, but also the heat. Therefore, the area overshadowed by the moon sees a sudden drop in light ant temperature. Also, as the location is not fixed, but it moves, this motion leads to the apparition of a series of bow waves in the ionosphere. In fact, these waves are the lower heat energy which moved close to the atmosphere.
The ionosphere is often disturbed by all kinds of phenomena, most of the times including gravitational waves. However, the observations showed this energy came at huge speeds, which made it impossible for other kinds of waves to be present. Researchers knew bow waves must exist, but only this eclipse allowed them to observe the phenomena.
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