On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse occurred over the United States commencing on the west coast moving across to the east coast providing an opportunity to observe how the rapid day-night-day transition changed the ionosphere’s D-region electron density and how very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic wave propagation was affected. To observe the solar obscurity effects, VLF receivers were deployed in two locations: one in the path of totality in Lakeside, Nebraska and another south of the totality path in Hugo, Colorado. The locations were chosen to achieve an orthogonal geometry between the eclipse path and propagation path of U. S. Navy VLF transmitter in North Dakota, which operates at 25.2 kHz and has call sign NML. VLF amplitude and phase changes were observed in both Lakeside and Hugo during the eclipse. A negative phase change was observed at both receivers as solar obscuration progressively increased. The observed phase changes became positive as solar obscuration reduced. The opposite trend was observed for the amplitude of the transmitted signal: growth as max totality approached and decay during the shadow’s recession. The Long Wave Propagation Capability (LWPC) code developed by the US Navy was used to model the observations. LWPC is a modal solution finder for Earth-ionosphere waveguide propagation that takes into account the D-region density profile. In contrast to past efforts where a single ionosphere profile was assumed over the entire propagation path, a degree of spatial resolution along the path was sought here by solving for multiple segments of length 100-200 km along the path. LWPC modeling suggests that the effective reflection height changed from 71 km in the absence of the eclipse, to 78 km at the center of the path of totality during the total solar eclipse and is on agreement with past work.
|Commitee:||Gedney, Stephen, Golkowski, Mark, Harid, Vijay|
|School:||University of Colorado at Denver|
|School Location:||United States -- Colorado|
|Source:||MAI 58/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Electrical engineering, Astrophysics, Electromagnetics|
|Keywords:||Earth - ionosphere waveguide, LWPC modeling, Solar eclipse, VLF|
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