[time-nuts] WWVB & Eclipse

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Fri Jul 14 09:17:16 EDT 2017

Hi Bill,

> Did I put my foot in it? It was a sincere question.

No, it's was a good question, don't worry about that. I just don't have a good answer, or one that stays on-topic for time-nuts.

If you read a bunch of papers about eclipses you'll find that all sorts of interesting and rare things do or may occur. And especially for this modern one in 2017, scientists are ready to see what they can see. Presumably over the next year you'll slowly read reports varying from dark matter or gravity to ionosphere or animal behavior, to who knows what, etc. Some positive, some negative; some legit, some bogus.

A total solar eclipse is more than the majestic sight of the sky going dark for a minute. Consider that solar radiation is something like 1 kW / sq meter, or 1 GW per sq km. The 2000 mile-an-hour black spot of totality is about 60 mi across. Call it 100 km square and this means the moon suddenly interrupts 10,000 GW of power from hitting the atmosphere and ground. That's kind of a lot. Multiply that by 100 s (roughly how long totality lasts above your head) and you get 1,000 TJ (Tera-Joules) of sudden "missing" energy over your head. For perspective, the Hiroshima bomb was "just" 60 TJ worth of energy [1].

I don't know what this energy on-off-on toggle switch will do. But surely it will do something subtle and interesting and maybe measurable. So tracking WWVB or GPS signal strength and latency and stuff like that is a pretty cheap experiment that may or may not have interesting results. It's once-in-a-lifetime for most of us.

So that's what Bob & I were referring to. Earlier I sent links showing the kind of research people can do with raw GPS signal data, well beyond what we do here with just 1PPS measurements.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TNT_equivalent

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "William H. Fite" <omniryx at gmail.com>
To: "Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement" <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 8:06 PM
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] WWVB & Eclipse

Did I put my foot in it? It was a sincere question.

On Thursday, July 13, 2017, Bob kb8tq <kb8tq at n1k.org> wrote:

> Hi
> I think we are both taking it as a given that the eclipse’s impact on the
> ionosphere will
> be “visible” even with a fairly simple setup. I guess that might qualify
> for a very loose
> definition of the term “hypothesis” in my case. I can’t speak for Tom.
> Bob
> > On Jul 13, 2017, at 6:24 PM, William H. Fite <omniryx at gmail.com
> <javascript:;>> wrote:
> >
> > Tom, are some specific hypotheses being tested or is this purely
> > exploratory?
> >
> > Bill

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