Moon’s Supersonic Shadow Created Waves During the Solar Eclipse

Dec 27, 2017

By Laura Geggel

When the moon’s shadow zipped across the United States during the Great American Solar Eclipse this past August, the shadow traveled so fast it created waves in Earth’s upper atmosphere, a new study finds.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth, casting its shadow in a narrow path across parts of the planet. Since the 1970s, researchers have suspected that the moon’s shadow, which travels at supersonic speeds during a solar eclipse, could create waves in the ionosphere— a part of Earth’s upper atmosphere that has electronically charged particles.

But they hadn’t been able to prove it until now, the researchers told Live Science.

Researchers suspected that the moon’s shadow could “make waves” because when the moon travels between the sun and Earth, its shadow blocks the sun’s energy, rapidly cooling the area beneath it. But because the shadow moves so quickly, anything in its wake is swiftly reheated. This sudden temperature change was thought to generate waves in “the atmosphere at altitudes where the ozone layer and water vapor efficiently convert solar [ultraviolet] radiation to heat,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

One comment on “Moon’s Supersonic Shadow Created Waves During the Solar Eclipse”

  • But because the shadow moves so quickly, anything in its wake is swiftly reheated. This sudden temperature change was thought to generate waves in “the atmosphere at altitudes where the ozone layer and water vapor efficiently convert solar [ultraviolet] radiation to heat,” the researchers wrote in the study.

    That sounds like a reasonable effect on the heat absorbing layers of upper and mid atmosphere.

    There will of course, also be large tides and surface chilling, below this at sea level. as the Sun’s and the Moon’s gravitational pull will be synchronised over the same area of the Earth’s surface, when they are aligned in this way!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.