The eclipse on August 21 will “reload” the Earth’s ionosphere

Due to the blocking of the ultraviolet from the Sun, the terrestrial ionosphere will abruptly shorten for a short time, which will allow observing a number of unusual effects.

The ionosphere, usually supported by the solar ultraviolet, will be through an instant reset for a couple of minutes of a total eclipse over the USA. First, its source “turns off” from full power to zero, and then again returns to normal. Due to this, writes NASA, it will be possible to check whether scientists correctly imagine fast processes in the ionosphere.

The ionosphere, lying above 60 kilometers above the Earth, is saturated with ions – “ripped” atoms, in which the bombardment with external radiation “tore off” the electron, due to which it became ionized from a neutral particle. The ionosphere plays a big role in everyday life – it is from it that the radio waves of the most actively used part of the radio range are reflected. It is known that her condition depends on the behavior of the Sun. A number of researchers believe that during the strongest solar storms, which have not existed since 1859 (before the invention of radio communications), communication, working with the ionosphere, will be disrupted. To understand whether it is so or not, we must well imagine the rapid processes taking place in it.

The near total solar eclipse in the US – it will happen on August 21 and will be the first such large-scale one in a century for this country – will become a natural laboratory for testing existing models of the ionosphere. During the eclipse, the moon completely blocks the ultraviolet from the Sun. This main source of ionospheric feed, ionizing most of the atoms in it, “turn off” and “turn on” back in just 2.5 minutes.

Researchers from NASA will use the transmission of radio signals from receivers to transmitters at different ends of the US in order to find out how a sharp weakening and amplification of the solar ultraviolet will affect the propagation of radio waves through the ionosphere. In general, the blocking of UV rays and their restoration occurs over different parts of the ionosphere constantly due to the change of day and night. But it almost never happens so fast, because there is no instant sunset and dawn. Therefore, observations on August 21 can give a really meaningful scientific result.

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