Atmospheric gravity waves generated during a solar eclipse


DURING a solar eclipse, the Moon's cool shadow, moving with supersonic speed through the Earth's atmosphere, should generate bow waves. In the experiments described here four microbarographs were used in an attempt to detect atmospheric pressure oscillations that were expected to accompany bow waves associated with the total solar eclipse of 23 October 1976. These internal gravity waves were found to have a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.1 to 0.2 Pa, a period of 23 min and a velocity of 3.1×102 ms−1.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Beer, T., Goodwin, G. L. & Hobson, G. J. Nature 264, 420 (1976).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Chimonas, G. & Hines, C. O. J. geophys. Res. 75, 875 (1970).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Jones, R. V. & Forbes, S. T. J. scient. Instrum. 39, 420 (1962).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Davis, M. J. & da Rosa, A. V. Nature 226, 1123 (1970).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Arendt, P. R. J. geophys. Res. 76, 4695 (1971).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Hines, C. O. Can. J. Phys. 38, 1441 (1960).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Fiala, A. D. & Duncombe, J. S. Circ. No. 152, (US Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., 1975).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

GOODWIN, G., HOBSON, G. Atmospheric gravity waves generated during a solar eclipse. Nature 275, 109–111 (1978).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing