On the use of solar eclipses to study the ionosphere


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TitleOn the use of solar eclipses to study the ionosphere
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLiles, W, Mitchell, C, Cohen, M, Earle, G, Frissell, N, Kirby-Patel, K, Lukes, L, Miller, E, Moses, M, Nelson, J, Rockway, J
Conference Name15th International Ionospheric Effects Symposium IES2017
Date Published05/2017
Conference LocationAlexandria, VA

Exploring the effects of solar eclipses on radio wave propagation has been an active area of research since the first experiments conducted in 1912. In the first few decades of ionospheric physics, researchers started to explore the natural laboratory of the upper atmosphere. Solar eclipses offered a rare opportunity to undertake an active experiment. The results stimulated much scientific discussion.
Early users of radio noticed that propagation was different during night and day. A solar eclipse provided the opportunity to study this day/night effect with much sharper boundaries than at sunrise and sunset, when gradual changes occur along with temperature changes in the atmosphere and variations in the sun angle.
Plots of amplitude time series were hypothesized to indicate the recombination rates and re- ionization rates of the ionosphere during and after the eclipse, though not all time-amplitude plots showed the same curve shapes. A few studies used multiple receivers paired with one transmitter for one eclipse, with a 5:1 ratio as the upper bound. In these cases, the signal amplitude plots generated for data received from the five receive sites for one transmitter varied greatly in shape.

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