Effects of the Large June 1975 Meteoroid Storm on Earth's Ionosphere

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4931, pp. 787-790
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4931.787


The June 1975 meteoroid storm detected on the moon by the Apollo seismometers was the largest ever observed. Reexamination of radio data taken at that time showed that the storm also produced pronounced disturbances on Earth, which were recorded as unique phase anomalies on very low frequency (VLF) radio propagation paths in the low terrestrial ionosphere. Persistent effects were observed for the major storm period (20 to 30 June 1975), including reductions in the diurnal phase variation, advances in the nighttime and daytime phase levels, and reductions in the sunset phase delay rate. Large nighttime phase advances, lasting a few hours, were detected on some days at all VLF transmissions, and for the shorter propagation path they were comparable to solar Lyman alpha daytime ionization. Ion production rates attributable to the meteor storm were estimated to be about 0.6 to 3.0 ions per centimeter cubed per second at the E and D regions, respectively. The storm was a sporadic one with a radiant (that is, the point of apparent origin in the sky) located in the Southern Hemisphere, with a right ascension 1 to 2 hours larger than the sun's right ascension.

Stay Connected to Science