2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Map of US Eclipses from 2017-2052

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse caused the shadow of the moon to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just over 90 minutes. Although the ionospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for over 50 years, many unanswered questions remain. HamSCI invited amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment which characterized the ionospheric response to the total solar eclipse and targeted open science questions.

Hundreds of ham radio operators helped out by getting on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, a contest-like operating event designed to generate data for studying the eclipse. Other HamSCI experiments included making HF Frequency Measurements, recording HF spectra, setting up a Reverse Beacon Network Receiver, participating in VLF/LF receiving experiments, and listening to AM broadcast stations. See our Eclipse Get Involved for more information.

Are you curious about how prior total solar eclipses affected the ionosphere? Read about radio experiments during the 1999 United Kingdom Total Solar Eclipse coordinated by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.




Get on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party!

Get Involved!

How can hams and the general public get involved?

The Experiment

Details of the plan to study the 2017 solar eclipse.


Join the HamSCI-Eclipse Mailing List


Members of the HamSCI team are in Charlotte, North Carolina this Friday through Sunday to present at the ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC). The ARRL-TAPR DCC is an annual conference that presents leading ideas related to amateur radio electrical engineering and related fields. This year, members of HamSCI will be presenting on topics related to the upcoming 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses, the development of the Personal Space Weather Station, including the Grape HF Doppler Receiver, VLF receiver, and TangerineSDR wideband receiver. Additional presentations include advances in analysis of Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances observed both with large-scale amateur radio reporting systems (RBN/WSPRNet/PSKReporter) and the Grape Personal Space Weather Station, as well as the initial public release of pyLap, the new open-source Python-based interface to the PHaRLAP HF ray tracing toolkit. The entire DCC is being live streamed via the TAPR Digital YouTube Channel. You can download the conference agenda here.

HamSCI submitted two white papers to the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. The first white paper, entitled Amateur Radio: An Integral Tool for Atmospheric, Ionospheric, and Space Physics Research and Operations, discusses the technical capabilities of the amateur radio community and the open scientific questions and space weather operational needs that can be addressed with these capabilities. The second paper, Fostering Collaborations with the Amateur Radio Community, talks about how the professional science space science community and the amateur radio community can work together for mutual benefit and provides recommendations for fostering this relationship. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the body in the United States charged with setting the highest level science priorities for the United States. Every 10 years, the NAS conducts a decadal survey of the community to help set these priorities. This current Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) will be the guiding document for space science research and operations for NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and congress from 2024-2033.

A new study by Sam Lo et al. from the Centre for Space at the University of Bath entitled "A Systematic Study of 7 MHz Greyline Propagation Using Amateur Radio Beacon Signals" was just published in the peer-reviewed journal Atmosphere. Abstract: This paper investigates 7 MHz ionospheric radio wave propagation between pairs of distant countries that simultaneously lie on the terminator. This is known as greyline propagation. Observations of amateur radio beacon transmitters recorded in the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) database are used to investigate the times of day that beacon signals were observed during the year 2017. The WSPR beacon network consists of thousands of automated beacon transmitters and observers distributed over the globe. The WSPR database is a very useful resource for radio science as it offers the date and time at which a propagation path was available between two radio stations, as well as their precise locations. This paper provides the first systematic study of grey-line propagation between New Zealand/Eastern Australia and UK/Europe. The study shows that communications were predominantly made from the United Kingdom (UK) to New Zealand at around both sunset and sunrise times, whereas from New Zealand to the UK, communication links occurred mainly during UK sunrise hours. The lack of observations at the UK sunset time was particularly evident during the UK summer. The same pattern was found in the observations of propagation from Eastern Australia to UK, and from New Zealand and Eastern Australia to Italy and the surrounding regions in Europe. The observed asymmetry in reception pattern could possibly be due to the increase in electromagnetic noise across Europe in the summer afternoon/evening from thunderstorms. URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/13/8/1340

Congratulations to Sam Lo and the entire team!