Friday, 22 July 2011

Greenland: A Special Radar Experiment

On Friday night, we went out to the Sondrestrom incoherent scatter radar with a small group of participants of the International ISR Workshop, which is currently underway at Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. After having run individual experiments for all seven groups of students on Tuesday, we wanted to give this opportunity also to the advanced participants in a special experiment session.

We ran two different experiments. First we had the radar alternate between three distinct pointing directions: tangential to the geomagnetic field and two close-by directions. The second experiment involved 4-min long zonal scans across the sky, one to the north and one to the south. In the photo above, the organiser of the workshop and PI of the radar, Anja Strømme of SRI International, discusses the ion-line part of the incoherent scatter radar spectrum with Daniel Martini, who has come from South Korea to take part in this workshop.

We were lucky and saw aurora with the radar. Unfortunately the polar day made it impossible to see the aurora also with optical means like, e.g., our eyes. Here Phil Erickson looks at a real-time plot of electron density. The bright-yellow patch, which extends down to about 80 km altitude, hints at very hard electron precipitation.

Photos: Thomas Ulich.

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