A total solar eclipse occurred in the Southern Hemisphere on 2 July 2019 from approximately 17 to 22 UT. Its effect in the thermosphere over South America was imaged from geostationary orbit by NASA's Global-scale Observation of Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument. GOLD observed a large brightness reduction (>80% around totality) in OI 135.6 nm and N2 LBH band emissions compared to baseline measurements made 2 days prior. In addition, a significant enhancement (with respect to the baseline) in the ΣO/N2 column density ratio (~80%) was observed within the eclipse's totality. This enhancement suggests that the eclipse induced compositional changes in the thermosphere. After the eclipse passed, a slight enhancement in ΣO/N2 column density ratio (~7%) was also seen around the totality path when compared to measurements before the eclipse. These observations are the first synoptic imaging measurements of an eclipse's thermospheric effects with the potential to drastically improve and test our understanding of how the thermosphere responds to rapid, localized changes in solar short wavelength radiation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science