Virginia Tech electrical engineering professor Greg Earle, W4GDE, is heading up a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded solar eclipse experiment dubbed CEDAR — Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions. The experiment proposes to study the effects on the ionosphere of the August 21 total eclipse of the sun, using a combination of GPS receivers, the university’s SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) radar system, HF Amateur Radio, and plasma modeling. Several graduate students and researchers, as well as the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association (K4KDJ) and the Amateur Radio community at large have been recruited to help.
“We want to understand how the ionosphere is affected by blockage of sunlight over a relatively short interval (~2 hours), understand how man-made systems are affected by the changes in the ionosphere, and use the data to improve our numerical models,” Earle told ARRL, noting that the “plan has morphed a bit” since the initial proposal of more than a year ago. Virginia Tech students Magdalina Moses, KM4EGE, and Xiaoyu “Harry” Han, KM4ICI, along with Tech electrical engineering professor Bob McGwier, N4HY, are among those pitching in.