24 July 2024
2024 eclipse: Ionosphere discovery through citizen science

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Exciting Opportunity: 2024 Eclipse and Ionospheric Discovery

Amateur radio operators, commonly known as “hams,” are gearing up for an extraordinary project in light of the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. This enthusiastic community is collaborating with the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) group to utilize the eclipse as a natural laboratory for studying the ionosphere. The ionosphere is a critical layer of Earth’s atmosphere that plays a vital role in radio communication.

The 2024 total solar eclipse presents a rare opportunity to observe how the ionosphere reacts to the temporary absence of solar radiation. Through a combination of radio experiments conducted across North America, HamSCI aims to gather valuable data to enhance our understanding of this atmospheric layer. This project involves two main activities: the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) and the Gladstone Signal Spotting Challenge.

Unveiling the Ionosphere: Solar Eclipse QSO Party

The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) is a key component of the project, encouraging amateur radio operators across the continent to establish as many radio contacts, or QSOs, as possible before, during, and after the eclipse. This initiative will create a lively atmosphere filled with radio signals, providing a unique opportunity to study radio wave behavior under the eclipse’s distinct conditions. The SEQP is a competitive yet friendly event designed to promote widespread participation and add an element of excitement to the scientific endeavor.

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Diving Deeper: Gladstone Signal Spotting Challenge

Named in honor of Philip Gladstone, a notable ham radio operator known for his contributions to radio science, the Gladstone Signal Spotting Challenge focuses on monitoring select radio frequencies using specialized equipment. By observing the ionosphere’s response to the eclipse through targeted radio frequency monitoring, participants contribute to validating scientific models and expanding our knowledge of this atmospheric layer’s interaction with solar radiation.

Community Collaboration: Amateur Enthusiasts Unite

Amateur radio enthusiasts of all backgrounds and skill levels are invited to join these events, driven by a shared passion for scientific exploration and a collective curiosity about the upper atmosphere. The support and involvement of the amateur radio community are integral to the success of HamSCI’s mission, highlighting the significant impact of citizen science in advancing scientific knowledge.

As the total solar eclipse concludes, the real work begins as researchers delve into the collected data, analyze it, and publish their findings. These efforts are expected to contribute significantly to our understanding of the ionosphere, showcasing the value of community engagement in scientific discovery. HamSCI’s overarching goal is to inspire wonder and encourage individuals to actively participate in scientific exploration, demonstrating the power of collaborative efforts driven by curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.

The 2024 total solar eclipse serves as a unique opportunity for citizen scientists to contribute to ionospheric research and further our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere. Through the combined efforts of amateur radio operators and professional researchers, this project exemplifies the potential of community-driven science in unraveling the mysteries of the ionosphere and fostering a spirit of scientific curiosity among enthusiasts worldwide.

Links to additional Resources:

1. www.hamsci.org 2. www.amsat.org 3. www.ariss.org

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Total solar eclipse, Ionosphere, Amateur radio

Solar eclipse
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby obscuring the view of the Sun from a small part of Earth, totally or partially. Such an alignment occurs approximately every six months, during the eclipse season in its new moon phase, when the Moon's orbital...
Read more: Solar eclipse

The ionosphere () is the ionized part of the upper atmosphere of Earth, from about 48 km (30 mi) to 965 km (600 mi) above sea level, a region that includes the thermosphere and parts of the mesosphere and exosphere. The ionosphere is ionized by solar radiation. It plays an...
Read more: Ionosphere

Amateur radio
Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is the use of the radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communications. The term "amateur" is used to specify "a duly authorized person interested in radioelectric practice with a purely...
Read more: Amateur radio

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