2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Map of US Eclipses from 2017-2052

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse caused the shadow of the moon to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just over 90 minutes. Although the ionospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for over 50 years, many unanswered questions remain. HamSCI invited amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment which characterized the ionospheric response to the total solar eclipse and targeted open science questions.

Hundreds of ham radio operators helped out by getting on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, a contest-like operating event designed to generate data for studying the eclipse. Other HamSCI experiments included making HF Frequency Measurements, recording HF spectra, setting up a Reverse Beacon Network Receiver, particpating in VLF/LF receiving experiements, and listening to AM broadcast stations. See our Eclipse Get Involved for more information.

Are you curious about how prior total solar eclipses affected the ionosphere? Read about radio experiements during the 1999 United Kingdom Total Solar Eclipse coordinated by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

 

 

SEQP

Get on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party!

Get Involved!

How can hams and the general public get involved?

The Experiment

Details of the plan to study the 2017 solar eclipse.

 

Join the HamSCI-Eclipse Mailing List

 

The HamSCI teams at the University of Scranton W3USR and Case Western Reserve University W8EDU were recently awarded a 3-year collaborative National Science Foundation grant to study impacts of the 2023 and 2024 Solar Eclipses on the ionosphere, as well as ionospheric variability that occurs during every day dawn and dusk. The project will be led by Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF at Scranton and David Kazdan AD8Y, John Gibbons N8OBJ, Rachel Boedicker AC8XY, and Christian Zorman at Case Western. Kristina Collins KD8OXT, Bill Engelke AB4EJ, Steve Cerwin WA5FRF, Phil Erickson W1PJE, Mary Lou West KC2NMC, Bob Gerzoff WK2Y, Rachel Frissell W2RUF, and the entire HamSCI Grape Personal Space Weather Station team played a significant role in winning this grant. NSF funding will provide for about thirty Personal Space Weather Station Grape receivers to be deployed throughout North America. Their locations will be optimized to study the ionospheric impacts simultaneously received from WWV (Fort Collins, CO) on 5 and 10 MHz and CHU (Ottawa, Canada) on 3.33, 7.85, or 14.67 MHz. The HamSCI amateur radio community will be able purchase and field additional stations. All stations will run continuously from deployment through at least the end of the project, and will capture the 2023 and 2024 eclipses. If you would like to participate, please join our Google Group and weekly Grape telecons!

As Solar Cycle 25 begins, amateur radio operators look forward to the return of the exciting propagation conditions associated with solar maximum. The classic paradigm for solar cycle prediction is based on an 11-year sinusoidal pattern of sunspot numbers, with an official NASA-NOAA "consensus" prediction coming from a panel of experts evaluating an ensemble of different types of models. However, the underlying solar cycle mechanism is still not well understood and this consensus prediction can fall short. Scott McIntosh at the U.S. National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team have recently published a new method for predicting the time and amplitude of solar maximum, based on changes in the observed magnetic polarity in different regions of the sun. This new method predicts a stronger Solar Cycle 25 than the NASA-NOAA "consensus" prediction. HamSCI member Frank Howell K4FMH teams up with Dr. McIntosh to review this new methodology and its potential impacts on how we think about solar cycle predictions in a two-part article series currently featured on the cover of RSGB's RadCom magazine. More information can also be found at Frank's blog.

In November 2021, Dr. Martin Archer asked the HamSCI and Amateur Radio Community for help in determining the best way to sonify ultra low frequency (ULF) plasma waves measurements. Those results have just been published! From Dr. Archer:

"Our sense of sound can be a powerful tool in exploring and analysing data collected from satellites. But what is the best way to make this data audible? Space science researchers at Imperial College London asked for your input on which methods of making the sounds of near-Earth space audible produce the best results. We’re pleased to announce that the results of this survey have now been published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences. The feedback was invaluable, providing clear recommendations on which methods were best. These are now being used by space scientists around the world to improve their science communication, public engagement, and citizen science. Thank you!"