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The study of the effect of solar eclipses on the ionosphere based on satellite beacon observations


  • Elizabeth A. Cohen


Satellite beacon observations during eclipses have provided much information on the behavior of the ionosphere. A combination of Faraday rotation and differential phase measurements as well as ionosonde data can provide information on the topside and bottomside ionospheric behavior during an eclipse as well as on the production rate. Recent attention has been directed toward a study of the dynamics of the F region during an eclipse and the relation between the amount of depletion in the total electron content and the percent obscuration of the sun. Of particular interest is the time delay from the maximum obscuration to the maximum depletion of the total electron content. Further modeling studies are required in order to reproduce the experimental results. Further observations are also required in order to establish whether TID's are generated following a total solar eclipse as predicted theoretically. In particular, it appears that a more sensitive technique such as differential Doppler rather than Faraday rotation is required. The total solar eclipse of June 11, 1983, with its long totality time of 4–5 min over Indonesia and Papua New Guinea will provide an ideal opportunity for further studies of these unanswered questions.

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