Atmospheric Gravity Waves Observed in the Nightglow Following the 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

I. Paulino, C. A.O.B. Figueiredo, F. S. Rodrigues, R. A. Buriti, C. M. Wrasse, A. R. Paulino, D. Barros, H. Takahashi, I. S. Batista, A. F. Medeiros, P. P. Batista, M. A. Abdu, E. R. de Paula, C. M. Denardini, L. M. Lima, R. Y.C. Cueva, J. J. Makela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nighttime airglow images observed at the low-latitude site of São João do Cariri (7.4°S, 36.5°W) showed the presence of a medium-scale atmospheric gravity wave (AGW) associated with the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse. The AGW had a horizontal wavelength of ∼1,618 km, observed period of ∼152 min, and propagation direction of ∼200° clockwise from the north. The spectral characteristics of this wave are in good agreement with theoretical predictions for waves generated by eclipses. Additionally, the wave was reverse ray-traced, and the results show its path crossing the Moon's shadow of the total solar eclipse in the tropical North Atlantic ocean at stratospheric altitudes. Investigation about potential driving sources for this wave indicates the total solar eclipse as the most likely candidate. The optical measurements were part of an observational campaign carried out to detect the impact of the August 21 eclipse in the atmosphere at low latitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL088924
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 16 2020


  • airglow
  • gravity wave
  • ray tracing
  • solar eclipse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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