The radio receivers, developed by K.C. Kerby-Patel, an electromagnetics expert at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and her students, will measure the strength of these signals during the eclipse. Previous experiments indicate that, as the moon’s shadow sweeps across the country, the radio signal strength will undergo “fairly dramatic” changes, Nelson said. She expects the signal will look different depending on whether the waves have to cross through the path of totality to reach the receivers. Those close to the center path of the eclipse may see a more dramatic change.
The eclipse could have wide-reaching effects on radio signals, as suggested by earlier studies. In 1999, British citizens listened in for a 639 kHz radio station, broadcast from northern Spain, during an eclipse. Radio La Coruna was typically heard only at night in southern England. But, in the middle of the eclipse, residents reported receiving it much further to the north.