The August total eclipse took place on the 21st and it went across the United States from coast to coast. During the historical happening, the moon’s shadow created waves in Earth’s atmosphere looking as a boat sailing through the ocean.
Bow waves were created
The August solar eclipse was the most studies, photographed and analyzed so far, thanks to the technological advances available. Scientists were able to confirm theories dating back to the 70s.
The moon passes between the sun and Planet Earth during a total solar eclipse and this causes a shadow across parts of our planet. Researchers have suspected this phenomenon for a long time and the August Solar eclipse offered the perfect opportunity to prove their theory: bow waves exist.
What are bow waves
The Moon’s shadow moves very fast and everything get reheated during this phenomenon, hence the creation of waves in the atmosphere.
Shun-Rong Zhang, researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains that the August Eclipse was the perfect for showing the bow wave phenomenon. Together with his colleagues, Zhang used about 2,000 sensors through North America and they received signals from satellites: GNSS. The GNSS sensors are highly accurate and scientists were able to determine the total electron content (TEC) located 20,000 km above Earth. The sensors measured the TEC differentials and scientists were able to detect the bow waves: fine ionospheric disturbances.
Stern waves were also investigated
Apart from the bow waves, Zhang and fellow researchers from the Haystack Observatory and from the University of Tromso in Norway were able to detect bow waves, created from the moon’s shadow and also stern waves. The stern waves were 10 degrees longitude by 10 degrees latitude. The waves moved with the speed of 670mph and they lasted for an hour.