Ionospheric behavior over Europe during the solar eclipse of 3 October 2005
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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An annular eclipse occurred over Europe in the morning hours of 3 October 2005. The well-defined obscuration function of the solar radiation during the eclipse provided a good opportunity to study the ionospheric/thermospheric response to solar radiation changes. Since the peak electron density behavior of the ionospheric F2 layer follows the local balance of plasma production, loss and transport, the ionospheric plasma redistribution processes significantly affect the shape of the electron density profile. These processes are discussed here based on a comparison of vertical incidence sounding (VS) and vertical total electron content (TEC) data above-selected ionosonde stations in Europe. The equivalent slab thickness, derived with a time resolution of 10 min, provides relatively good information on the variation of the electron density profile during the eclipse. The computations reveal an increased width of the ionosphere around the maximum phase. As indicated by the available measurements over Spain, the photo production is significantly reduced during the event leading to a slower increase of the total ionization in comparison with the neighboring days. The supersonic motion of the Moon's cool shadow through the atmosphere may generate atmospheric gravity waves that propagate upward and are detectable as traveling ionospheric disturbances at ionospheric heights. High-frequency (HF) Doppler shift spectrograms were recorded during the eclipse showing a distinct disturbance along the eclipse path. Whereas the ionosonde measurements at the Ebro station/Spain in the vicinity of the eclipse path reveal the origin of the wave activity in the lower thermosphere below about 180 km altitude, the similar observations at Pruhonice/Czech Republic provide arguments to localize the origin of the abnormal waves in the middle atmosphere well below the ionospheric heights. Although ionosonde and HF Doppler measurements show enhanced wave activity, the TEC data analysis does not, which is an indication that the wave amplitudes are too small for detecting them via this interpolation method. The total ionization reduces up to about 30% during the event. A comparison with similar observations from the solar eclipse of 11 August 1999 revealed a quite different ionospheric behavior at different latitudes, a fact that needs further investigation.
CitationJakowski, N.; Stankov, S.M.; Wilken, V.; Borries, C.; Altadill, D.; Chum, J.; Buresova, D.; Boska, J.; Sauli, P.; Hruska, F.; Cander, Lj.R. (2008). Ionospheric behavior over Europe during the solar eclipse of 3 October 2005. , Issue 0, pp. 836–853, IRM,