Scientists were amazed to discover "bow waves" due to the solar eclipse that traversed the United States last summer.
In an incredible new development, scientists have found that a rather remarkable event happened during the Great America Eclipse back in August in the upper atmosphere of the Earth. Researchers called these “bow waves,” which appeared to be the “wake” left behind by the eclipse, much like a ship sailing through the ocean.
Scientists have theorized about it, but have never before detected such a strange phenomenon. It was discovered by researchers in Boston and Norway, who detected the waves in the ionosphere. Essentially, the moon blocks heat from reaching the Earth by passing in front of the sun, and when the moon moves out of the way there is a bow wave effect as the heat ripples back through the atmosphere.
“We were looking at some phenomena that were expected but never had the chance to be observed,” study author Shun-Rong Zhang from the MIT Haystack Observatory told Gizmodo. “That was the surprise we found… we had a large coverage and our system is sensitive enough to be able to see these smaller variations. That was really very interesting to us.”