Analysis of the Effect of the August 2017 Eclipse on the Ionosphere Using a Ray-trace Algorithm

dc.contributor.authorMoses, Magdalina Louiseen
dc.contributor.committeechairEarle, Gregory D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberRuohoniemi, J. Michaelen
dc.contributor.committeememberSweeney, Dennis G.en
dc.contributor.departmentElectrical Engineeringen
dc.date.accessioned2019-08-06T08:00:20Zen
dc.date.available2019-08-06T08:00:20Zen
dc.date.issued2019-08-05en
dc.description.abstractThe total solar eclipse over the continental United States on August 21, 2017 offered a unique opportunity to study the dependence of the ionospheric density and morphology on incident solar radiation. Unique responses may be witnessed during eclipses, including changes in radio frequency (RF) propagation at high frequency (HF). Such changes in RF propagation were observed by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) radars in Christmas Valley, Oregon and in Fort Hays, Kansas during the 2017 eclipse. At each site, the westward looking radar observed an increase in slant range of the backscattered signal during the eclipse onset followed by a decrease after totality. In order to investigate the underlying processes governing the ionospheric response to the eclipse, we employ the HF propagation toolbox (PHaRLAP), created by Dr. Manuel Cervera, to simulate SuperDARN data for different models of the eclipsed ionosphere. Thus, by invoking different hypotheses and comparing simulated results to SuperDARN measurements, we can study the underlying processes governing the ionosphere and improve our model of the ionospheric responses to an eclipse. This thesis presents three studies using this method: identification of the cause of the increase in slant range observed by SuperDARN during the eclipse; evaluation of different eclipse obscuration models; and quantification of the effect of the neutral wind velocity on the simulated eclipse data.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralThe ionosphere is the charged layer of the upper atmosphere, which is generated and sustained by sunlight ionizing neutral particles to form a plasma. In the absence of sunlight, ions and electrons can recombine into neutral particles. The total solar eclipse over the continental United States on August 21, 2017 offered a unique opportunity to study the dependence of the ionospheric density and plasma motion on sunlight as the period of the eclipse is much shorter than night. Observations of the ionosphere during past eclipses indicate that unique ionospheric behavior may be witnessed during eclipses, including changes in radio wave propagation for radio waves in the high frequency (HF) regime. Such changes in radio propagation were observed by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) ionospheric HF radars in Christmas Valley, Oregon and in Fort Hays, Kansas during the 2017 eclipse. At each site, the westward looking radar observed an increase in distance that the radio waves traveled before they were reflected back to the radar during the eclipse onset followed by a decrease in this distance after totality. In order to investigate the mechanisms that produce these observed effects, we employed the HF propagation toolbox (PHaRLAP), created by Dr. Manuel Cervera, to simulate radio propagation and generate simulated SuperDARN data for different models of the eclipsed ionosphere. Thus, different models can be tested by comparing simulated data to measured data. Hence, we can study the underlying processes governing the ionosphere and improve our model of the ionospheric responses to an eclipse. This thesis presents three studies using this method to: identify the cause of the increase in the distance radio waves traveled during the eclipse; evaluate different models of change in eclipse magnitude over time; and investigate the effect of the neutral wind velocity on the simulated eclipse data.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:21871en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/92798en
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/en
dc.subjectIonosphereen
dc.subjectEclipsesen
dc.subjectRay-traceen
dc.subjectSuperDARNen
dc.subject2017 Eclipseen
dc.titleAnalysis of the Effect of the August 2017 Eclipse on the Ionosphere Using a Ray-trace Algorithmen
dc.typeThesisen
thesis.degree.disciplineElectrical Engineeringen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen
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