A remarkable new study shows that the Great American Solar Eclipse created "bow waves" through the upper atmosphere.
A mind-blowing discovery in the Earth’s upper atmosphere during the Great American Solar Eclipse in August 2017 has certainly made some waves in the scientific community, both literally and figuratively. Scientists have found that the eclipse left a “wake” in the atmosphere like a ship moving through water.
It’s a fascinating observations that scientists had theorized about before, but never actually witnessed until now. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as the University of Tromso in Norway were credit with detecting the waves in the Earth’s ionosphere, according to reports.
“We were looking at some phenomena that were expected but never had the chance to be observed,” study author Shun-Rong Zhang from the MIT Haystack Observatory told Gizmodo. “That was the surprise we found… we had a large coverage and our system is sensitive enough to be able to see these smaller variations. That was really very interesting to us.”
Scientists believe that because the moon is blocking heat from hitting the Earth during a solar eclipse, once it moves out of the way and the heat resumes making contact with our atmosphere, there is a bow wave effect that creates ripples.