Amateur Radio will be in the service of science on Monday, August 21, as a total solar eclipse causes the shadow of the moon to traverse the US from Oregon to South Carolina in a little more than 90 minutes, obscuring the sun completely for a few minutes at any given location along the way. The sudden absence of sunlight — and especially of solar ultra-violet and x-rays — is expected to change briefly the properties of the upper atmosphere. A few hundred radio amateurs already have registered as participants in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), a special operating event organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), which will contribute to the study of the eclipse’s impact on the ionosphere. HamSCI’s Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, said those taking part in the SEQP do not have to be in the path of totality to contribute to the research.
“It is very important for people outside of eclipse totality to participate, because one of the questions we have is how large is the effect on the ionosphere,” Frissell told ARRL. “So, we actually need people well outside of where totality is occurring to identify those boundaries.”