European centre of excellence
for sustainable water technology

Wetsus research during solar eclipse Antarctica

Published: 2 februari 2018

Wetsus researcher and program manager Elmar C. Fuchs will be going to Antarctica for a very special measurement campaign during the solar eclipse in February. He will be using the facilities of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Reason to go there is the upcoming partial solar eclipse.
Fuchs will measure how a solar eclips impacts some basic properties of water.

(informatie in het Nederlands)

Jakob Woisetschläger/TU Graz, 2015
Jakob Woisetschläger/TU Graz, 2015

Solar eclipses have fascinated the humans since the beginning of written history. In pre-scientific times, before chemistry separated from alchemy, solar eclipses (aka “chemical weddings”) were thought to be special insofar that certain (al-)chemical reactions would only take place during such events.

Inspired by this kind of reports and claims, a number of experiments was carried out during the solar eclipses in 2015 in Leeuwarden, 2016 in Réunion, 2017 in Puerto Chacabuco and the United States. Interestingly, the results of all these experiments suggest a correlation between the solar eclipse and some basic properties of water which are not due to changes of environmental parameters like temperature, humidity and air pressure. Among the many possible hypotheses, non-visible emissions from the sun like solar wind remain to be the most plausible one. Possible influences of solar activity on earth’s atmosphere were discussed recently [29]. The magnetic fields of earth redirect most of the solar wind to the polar regions where its interaction with the atmosphere results in the famous and beautiful aurora borealis and australis, respectively. Therefore a measurement campaign in the polar regions during a solar eclipse should shed more light on the validity of this hypothesis. This endeavour will be attempted by Elmar C. Fuchs on February 15th at the Dirck Gerritz Laboratory near the British Rothera Research Station on Antarctica. NWO opened the first Dutch laboratory on Antarctica a few years ago. This Dirck Gerritsz Laboratory consists of four sea containers that have been converted into laboratories and placed in a docking station. In the laboratory Dutch scientists carry out research.

Jakob Woisetschläger/TU Graz, 1999
Jakob Woisetschläger/TU Graz, 1999
combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance