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Coordinated weather balloon solar radiation measurements during a solar eclipse

Harrison, G., Marlton, G., Williams, P. and Nicoll, K. (2016) Coordinated weather balloon solar radiation measurements during a solar eclipse. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374 (2077). 20150221. ISSN 1364-503X (themed issue: Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0221

Abstract/Summary

Solar eclipses provide a rapidly changing solar radiation environment. These changes can be studied using simple photodiode sensors, if the radiation reaching the sensors is unaffected by cloud.Transporting the sensors aloft using standard meteorological instrument packages modified to carry extra sensors, provides one promising but hitherto unexploited possibility for making solar eclipse radiation measurements. For the 20th March 2015 solar eclipse, a coordinated campaign of balloon-carried solar radiation measurements was undertaken from Reading (51.44N, 0.94W), Lerwick (60.15N, 1.13W) and Reykjavik (64.13N, 21.90W), straddling the path of the eclipse.The balloons reached sufficient altitude at the eclipse time for eclipse-induced variations in solar radiation and solar limb darkening to be measured above cloud. Because the sensor platforms were free to swing, techniques have been evaluated to correct the measurements for their changing orientation. In the swing-averaged technique, the mean value across a set of swings was used to approximate the radiation falling on a horizontal surface; in the swing-maximum technique, the direct beam was estimated by assuming the sensing surface becomes normal to the solar beam direction at a maximum swing. Both approaches, essentially independent,give values that agree with theoretical expectations for the eclipse-induced radiation changes.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:54862
Additional Information:Theme issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’ compiled and edited by R. Giles Harrison and Edward Hanna
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing

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