Review Article

Thermal Wake Studies During the August 21st 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

  • Kaye Smith (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
  • Erick Paul Agrimson (St. Catherine University)
  • Brittany Craig (General Dynamics)
  • Alynie Xiong (St. Catherine University)
  • Grace Maki (St. Catherine University)
  • Peace Sinyigaya (St. Catherine University)
  • Vina Onyango-Robshaw (St. Catherine University)
  • Ana Taylor (St. Catherine University)
  • Rachel Lang (St. Catherine University)
  • Rachel DuBose (SkyWater Technology Foundry)
  • Gordon McIntosh (University of Minnesota, Morris)
  • James Flaten (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)


A thermal wake occurs when a high altitude balloon (HAB) influences and changes the surrounding ambient atmospheric temperature of the air through which it passes. This effect warms the air below the balloon to greater than the ambient temperatures during daytime flights, and cooler than ambient temperatures during nighttime flights. The total solar eclipse of August 21st, 2017, provided us with an opportunity to study these balloon induced temperature transitions from daytime, to eclipsed induced night conditions over the scale of a single flight. To measure these transitions, St. Catherine University and the University of Minnesota, Morris, flew over 40 temperature sensors suspended beneath weather balloons ascending within the path of totality. Stratospheric temperature data collected during the eclipse show evidence of both daytime and nighttime wake temperature profiles.

Keywords: Eclipse, thermal wake, stratosphere

How to Cite:

Smith, K. & Agrimson, E. P. & Craig, B. & Xiong, A. & Maki, G. & Sinyigaya, P. & Onyango-Robshaw, V. & Taylor, A. & Lang, R. & DuBose, R. & McIntosh, G. & Flaten, J., (2021) “Thermal Wake Studies During the August 21st 2017 Total Solar Eclipse”, Journal of High Altitude Ballooning 1(1). doi:



Published on
09 Aug 2021
Peer Reviewed