Collecting data unique to a solar eclipse

Posted: August 25, 2017 by oldbrew in data, research, solar system dynamics

2017 eclipse path over US [credit: NASA — click on image to enlarge]

Time to go fishing for insights into eclipse phenomena, thanks to a loan of specialized US Navy comms equipment.

On Monday, just as CU Denver began the new academic year, an awe-inspiring solar eclipse captivated people across North America, reports

A thin line of total solar coverage spanned, at various intervals, the continental United States, completely blocking out the sun from Lincoln Beach, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., for a few remarkable minutes.

Mark Golkowski, PhD, acting chair and associate professor of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Denver, and several students collected data during this rare celestial event by using state-of-the-art Naval submarine communication technology.

The Study

Traveling to remote areas of Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota, Golkowski’s small team of students collected data on how differing amounts of sunlight affect the upper atmosphere. The team was enthused about going into the field and collecting data unique to the total solar eclipse.

“We were way out there! We’re still waiting for all the data to come back to Denver, and we’re excited about our potential findings,” said Jamie Bittle, a graduate student in Electrical Engineering at CU Denver.

In fact, they had never been able to conduct this type of experiment because it required a solar eclipse to occur with precise geometry between the U.S. Navy very-low-frequency (VLF) transmitter, the eclipse itself and the receivers.

The Naval VLF transmitter is permanently set up outside of LaMoure, N.D. It is normally used as a communication device with the U.S. submarine fleet, and is also used to sense changes in the upper atmosphere, also known as the ionosphere.

Continued here.

  1. Martin Miller says:

    My Family and I drove from Southern California to Idaho Falls, Idaho to witness the eclipse. It was truly surreal and for an astro-nut like me, a must do. Already planning for Texas 2024.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Aha, an eclipse tourist 😉

    Imagine 20 Woodstock festivals occurring simultaneously across the nation

  3. Tenuc says:

    It will be interesting to see the results if and when they are published.

    Anyone here remember the Allais gravity anomaly effect and the large international NSAS project to do multiple measurements of the effect completed during the 1999 solar eclipse? We are still waiting to this day for the results to be published. Perhaps they just couldn’t face-up to having to rewrite the theory of gravity and have lost this valuable data!

  4. ferdberple says:

    Definitely no comparison between a partial and total eclipse. Well worth the trip to the well preserved ghost town of shaniko or. Locals organize a great party with free street bands and plenty of local history. If there was a complaint to be had, over much too soon.