Last year’s solar eclipse set off a wave in the upper atmosphere | Science News

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Last year’s solar eclipse set off a wave in the upper atmosphere

The moon’s shadow launched a ripple that was seen from Brazil an hour later

By
2:43pm, April 30, 2018
animation of eclipse shadow over north america

IN THE SHADOW  The solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, was seen from space by the DSCOVR satellite. The moon’s shadow spurred an atmospheric wave that propagated around the world for hours after the eclipse was over.

It was the eclipse felt ‘round the world. The August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse that crossed the United States launched a wave in the upper atmosphere that was detected nearly an hour later from Brazil (SN Online: 8/11/17).

“The eclipse itself is a local phenomenon, but our study shows that it had effects around the world,” says space scientist Brian Harding of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Harding watched the eclipse from St. Louis. But he and his colleagues activated a probe near São João do Cariri, Brazil, to observe uncharged particles 250 kilometers high in a part of the atmosphere called the thermosphere.

The probe recorded a fast-moving wave in the thermosphere go by half an hour after sunset in São João do Cariri and

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