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Solar eclipses at high latitudes: ionospheric effects in the lower ionosphere
  • Sergei Cherniakov
Sergei Cherniakov

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The partial reflection facility of the Polar Geophysical Institute (the Tumanny observatory, 69.0N, 35.7E) has observed behavior of the high-latitude lower ionosphere during the 20 March 2015 total solar eclipse. There were several effects during the eclipse. At the heights of 60–80 km the ionosphere has shown the effect of a “short night”, but at the higher altitudes local enhanced electron concentration had a wave-like form. Data received by the riometer of the Tumanny observatory have also shown wave-like behavior. The behavior can be explained by influence of acoustic-gravity waves which originated after cooling of the atmosphere during the lunar shadow supersonic movement, and transport processes during the eclipse. During the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse there was a substorm at the high latitudes. But after the end of the substorm in the region of the Tumanny observatory the observed amplitudes of the reflected waves had wave effects which could be connected with the coming waves from the region of the eclipse. The wave features were also shown in the behavior of the total electron content (TEC) of the lower ionosphere. During several solar eclipses it was implemented observations of lower ionosphere behavior by the partial reflection facility of the Tumanny observatory. The consideration of the lower ionosphere TEC had revealed common features in the TEC behavior during the eclipses. The photochemical theory of processes in the lower ionosphere is very complicated and up to now it is not completely developed. Therefore introduction of the effective coefficients determining the total speed of several important reactions has been widely adopted when modeling the D-region of the ionosphere. However, experimental opportunities for obtaining effective recombination coefficients are rather limited. One of the methods to estimate effective recombination coefficients uses the phenomenon of a solar eclipse. During solar eclipses at the partial reflection facility of the Tumanny observatory observations were carried out. It gave possibility to obtain the behavior of the electron concentration in time at the selected heights. Using the obtained experimental profiles, the effective recombination coefficients at the D-region heights of the ionosphere have been evaluated.