On the morning of March 20th, 2015, the sun will be partly covered by the moon for those observers living in Central Europe.
A total eclipse will be visible further north for the residents of the Faeroe Islands and Svalbard. In northeastern Germany 75% of the sun will be covered by the moon.
In the area around Berlin and Potsdam this spectacular event will start at 9:38 am and the maximum eclipse will be reached at 10:47 am. The partial eclipse will finish at 11:58 am. The next partial eclipse in Central Europe will take place in the summer of 2021.
A team of researchers focusing on space weather, headed by Prof. Claudia Stolle at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, will investigate the effects of the eclipse in collaboration with Prof. Jorge Chau and colleagues at the Leibniz-Institute for atmospheric physics (Kühlungsborn).
To measure the effects of the eclipse on the upper atmosphere and space weather, observations by magnetometers in Niemegk, Iceland and Svalbard, by an Ionosonde in Juliusruh and a Medium-Frequency Radar (MF-Radar) will be used.
The upper atmosphere will most likely exhibit a lower degree of ionisation and a decline in electric currents as a result of reduced solar radiation. These effects are expected to be rather weak and will probably only be detected under quiet geomagnetic conditions. The current global geomagnetic activity is quantified by the Kp-Index, which is documented by GFZ www.gfz-potsdam.de/kp-index
Disturbing factor solar storm
Strong solar wind may disturb the observations. Since March 17, 2015, plasma originating from a coronal mass ejection at the surface of the sun impacts the geomagnetic field, which protects our planet.
This resulted in a geomagnetic storm, which was observed not only at geomagnetic observatories operated by GFZ, but also at other institutes worldwide. Data from the American satellite ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) reported on unexpectedly high velocities of the solar plasma.
The strength of a geomagnetic storm is measured by the above mentioned Kp-index, on a scale from 0 to 9. The Kp-index is determined and distributed internationally by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.
The geomagnetic storm of March 17, 2015 is comparable in force to a hurricane on Earth, with Kp-values between 7 and 8 throughout 12 hours. The equatorial Dst storm index, which describes the geomagnetic activity at low latitudes, reached -221nT at 23UT, and indicated the peak of the storm on Earth. For comparison, during the most recent super storm (October 30, 2003) the peak value of the Dst was -383nT.
The strength of the storm is likely to diminish during the next days. However, solar flares may still hit Earth. If this is the case, the effect of the solar eclipse on Friday, March 20, 2015, will be hard to determine, as the associated geomagnetic storm will interfere with or superpose the geomagnetic signature of the partial eclipse.
Please, wear proper eye protection when observing the partial eclipse (eclipse eyeglasses)! Regular sunglasses or blackened glasses are not suitable.
Photos in a printable resolution may be found here:
Polar lights during the solar storm at the Søndrestrøm Incoherent Scatter Radar, Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, 17.03.2015 (Photos: Jürgen Matzka, GFZ)
Solar eclipse of 1999 (photo: L. Grunwaldt, GFZ):
Franz Ossing | GFZ Potsdam
Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America
Hurricane Harvey: Dutch-Texan research shows most fatalities occurred outside flood zones
19.04.2018 | European Geosciences Union
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy