Friday, 21 December 2012

Season's Greetings

It seems that we all narrowly escaped the End of the World today, on 21st December 2012, or maybe it is too early to judge. There seem to be many reasons for this, from a normal calendar change to a wrong synchronisation of our modern calendar to that of the Mayas. For an overview, please refer to NASA's Q&A on the matter.

As a consequence, it is worthwhile to continue and increase all of our combined efforts towards the funding and eventual building of EISCAT_3D, so that we can make the best of this facility in good time, should some kind of end of the world arrive one day.

In this spirit, we wish all of you peaceful and relaxing holidays and a very happy new year 2013, which certainly will see quite a few exciting news and decisions regarding our common endeavour to build the world's leading (not ending!) incoherent scatter radar facility.

See you all next year!

Photo of the EISCAT Tromsø site is courtesy Daniel Martini, taken a few weeks ago during a measurement campaign.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

EISCAT_3D included in UK Research Council Plans

The UK Research Councils (RCUK) has published a new strategic framework document for investment in research infrastructure, called “Investing for Growth: Capital Infrastructure for the 21st Century”, and EISCAT_3D is included as one of the proposed projects. The new document is intended to provide a context for Research Councils to make strategic capital investment decisions in order to retain and develop UK national capability, and continue to lead in global science and research, and was launched by the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, last month at the Royal Society.

Being part of this document is obviously a step forward in securing a future UK investment in EISCAT_3D, and we would particularly like to thank the UK EISCAT Council member, Michael Schultz, for securing the inclusion of our project.

The references to EISCAT are on page 23 of the framework document, which can be found at here.

Text: Ian McCrea.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Association of cusp energetic ions with geomagnetic storms and substorms, by J. T. Niehof, S. K. Morley, and R. H. W. Friedel, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1633-1643, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1633,
  • Effect of solar cycle on topside ion temperature measured by SROSS C2 and ROCSAT 1 over the Indian equatorial and low latitudes, by A. Borgohain and P. K. Bhuyan, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1645-1654, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1645,
  • Intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) in the MLT zonal wind over Kolhapur (16.8° N) and Tirunelveli (8.7° N), by M. V. Rokade, R. Kondala Rao, S. S. Nikte, R. N. Ghodpage, P. T. Patil, A. K. Sharma, and S. Gurubaran, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1623-1631, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1623,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • On ion gyro-harmonic structuring in the stimulated electromagnetic emission spectrum during second electron gyro-harmonic heating, by A. Samimi, W. A. Scales, P. A. Bernhardt, S. J. Briczinski, C. A. Selcher, and M. J. McCarrick, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1587-1594, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1587,
  • Observations of NO in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere during ECOMA 2010, by J. Hedin, M. Rapp, M. Khaplanov, J. Stegman, and G. Witt, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1611-1621, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1611,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • High-precision measurement of satellite velocity using the EISCAT radar, by T. Nygrén, J. Markkanen, A. Aikio, and M. Voiculescu, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1555-1565, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1555,
  • The pulsed nature of the nightside contribution to polar cap convection: repetitive substorm activity under steady interplanetary driving, by P. E. Sandholt, Y. L. Andalsvik, and C. J. Farrugia, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1539-1553, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1539,
  • Anisotropic pitch angle distribution of ~100 keV microburst electrons in the loss cone: measurements from STSAT-1, by J. J. Lee, G. K. Parks, E. Lee, B. T. Tsurutani, J. Hwang, K. S. Cho, K.-H. Kim, Y. D. Park, K. W. Min, and M. P. McCarthy, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1567-1573, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1567,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

EISCAT Peer-Review Programme: Radar Time Available for Anyone Now

EISCAT Scientific Association invites applications for observing time on the EISCAT facilities in 2013, by individual scientists, research groups, and consortia throughout the world on equal, competitive basis. This means that anyone can apply, independent of whether or not the applicant is from an EISCAT associate country.

While evaluations are merit based, in the case of two applications having similar merits in evaluation, preference will be given either to those applicants who are new to the EISCAT facilities, in order to enlarge the EISCAT user community and further more open access to the facilities, or to the applicant showing stronger educational impact in their proposal.

EISCAT is aiming to establish closer ties with the users of incoherent scatter radars (ISR) worldwide and bring in new users, young scientists, postdocs, and students who have not used the EISCAT facilities in the past.  The EISCAT International Symposium, which will take place 12th to 16th August 2013, will also aim to reach similar goals of bringing ISR users from around the world to interact more closely and collaborate.

The present call is the first call for 2013. In total, 200 hours of experiment time are open for international, peer-reviewed competition, and are available for the use of any of the current EISCAT facilities.

Please refer to EISCAT's pages on the Peer-Review Programme and in particular to the definition of the call for more information.

The deadline for proposals is 15th November 2012 at 24:00 UTC.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Large mesospheric inversion layer due to breaking of small-scale gravity waves: Evidence from Rayleigh lidar observations over Gadanki (13.5°N, 79.2°E), by K. Ramesh, S. Sridharan, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 90-97, 2012, (link).
  • Solar forcing on the ice winter severity index in the western Baltic region, by M.C. Leal-Silva, V.M. Velasco Herrera, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 98-109, 2012, (link).
  • Generation of zonal flow and magnetic field by coupled internal-gravity and Alfvén waves in the ionospheric E-layer, by T.D. Kaladze, L.Z. Kahlon, L.V. Tsamalashvili, D.T. Kaladze, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 110-119, 2012, (link).
  • Local climatological modeling of ionospheric irregularities detected by GPS in the mid-latitude region, by G. Wautelet, R. Warnant, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 132-143, 2012, (link).
  • Climatology of the inter-hemispheric field-aligned currents system over the Nigeria ionosphere, by O.S. Bolaji, A.B. Rabiu, E.O. Oyeyemi, K. Yumoto, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 144-153, 2012, (link).
Source: ScienceDirect Message Center.

Friday, 2 November 2012

First Light: Tri-Static VHF Radar

On 1st November 2012, EISCAT carried out the first tri-static experiment with the VHF transmitter in Tromsø and the remote dishes in Kiruna and Sodankylä, which had been converted to the VHF frequency of 224 MHz earlier this autumn. Good signals were immediately seen at all sites, with Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNR) exceeding 10%.

VHF Reception at Tromsø.
The monostatic part of this experiment was a test run low-elevation Common-Program runs with extra long ranges to be carried out in December, but during this particular test experiment the antenna was pointed vertically. The beams from the remote 32-m dish antennas in Kiruna and Sodankylä intersected the transmitter beam at the F-region peak at 270 km. The transmitter sent a circular polarised signal at 223.6 MHz.

VHF at Kiruna, Sweden (left) and Sodankylä, Finland (right).
However, in this test, the remote sites received signals only in horizontal polarisation, which is currently the only polarisation, which has a calibration noise source connected. It will take a couple of months to finalise the project with fully calibrated signal together with a software polariser in order to take into account the Faraday rotation, which the signal gets on the way from the scattering volume to the remote antennas.

With these fantastic first results we wish all of you a very good weekend!

Text and images: Adapted from Ingemar Häggström.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Ionization effect of nuclei with solar and galactic origin in the Earth atmosphere during GLE 69 on 20 January 2005, by A.L. Mishev, P.I.Y. Velinov, L. Mateev, Y. Tassev, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 1-7, 2012, (link).
  • Estimating high-energy electron fluxes by intercalibrating Reimei optical and particle measurements using an ionospheric model, by D.K. Whiter, B.S. Lanchester, T. Sakanoi, K. Asamura, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 8-17, 2012, (link).
  • Mesospheric temperature estimation from meteor decay times of weak and strong meteor trails, by Jeong-Han Kim, Yong Ha Kim, Geonhwa Jee, Changsup Lee, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 18-26, 2012, (link).
  • Temporal variations of short- and mid-term periodicities in solar wind parameters and cosmic ray intensity, by Y.P. Singh, Shweta Gautam, Badruddin, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 48-53, 2012, (link).
  • Experimental evidence of a stratospheric circulation influence on mesospheric temperatures and ice-particles during the 2010–2011 austral summer at 69°S, by Ray J. Morris, Josef Höffner, Franz-Josef Lübken, Timo P. Viehl, Bernd Kaifler, Andrew R. Klekociuk, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 54-61, 2012, (link).
  • Analysis of diurnal double maxima observed above Italy during 1975–1991, by Z.T. Katamzi, N.D. Smith, C.N. Mitchell, P. Spalla, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 67-75, 2012, (link).
  • An adaptive information technology for the operative diagnostics of the tropical cyclones; solar–terrestrial coupling mechanisms, by Vladimir F. Krapivin, Vladimir Yu. Soldatov, Costas A. Varotsos, Arthur P. Cracknell, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 89, 83-89, 2012, (link).
Source: ScienceDirect Message Center.

Friday, 26 October 2012

UHF-to-VHF Conversion completed

A while ago we reported, that the remote EISCAT UHF receivers in Kiruna and Sodankylä will be converted to the VHF frequency of 224 MHz in order to continue tristatic operations despite the interferences from mobile communication networks around the old frequency of 930 MHz.

This week, on Tuesday, 23rd October 2012, the conversion work was completed with the replacement of the small mirror with a dipole ring feed. The feed system is shown in the photo above while still loaded on the trailer on which it was brought over from Kiruna, where it was built.

With the new feed installed at Sodankylä, the conversion of the remote sites is complete – pending testing of the new setup using the Tromsø VHF transmitter. This is planned for next week.

The photo above shows the small mirror being lowered into the yard of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) after having been unbolted. Two cranes were needed: one for lifting the mirror, and the other holding a basket as a platform for doing the work.

The second photo shows the new VHF feed being lifted into position. It is secured by two ropes to the ground in order to ensure the right orientation. At the same time, the mounting crew is getting ready in the basket of the other crane, ready to install the feed.

These two photos are part of a series of thousands of images taken by a time-lapse camera on the roof of the EISCAT station. A time-lapse movie (Full HD 1080p) of the operation has been made available on-line. The movie is 7'34" long, based on images every 2 seconds and running at 25 fps. However, it failed to capture the action in the centre of the radar dish since it was pointed just a little too low. This unfortunate mistake is down to this specific camera not having a view finder allowing for exact aim. Well, we learnt something again: download test images before running all day.

See also the photos of the Sodankylä conversion, which were published on the KAIRA blog earlier this week.

Time-lapse images were a collaboration between Thomas Ulich, Toivo Iinatti, and Derek McKay-Bukowski. Photo of the feed on trailer by Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Electron loss and meteoric dust in the mesosphere, by M. Friedrich, M. Rapp, T. Blix, U.-P. Hoppe, K. Torkar, S. Robertson, S. Dickson, and K. Lynch, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1495-1501, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1495,
  • Collisionless reconnection: magnetic field line interaction, by R. A. Treumann, W. Baumjohann, and W. D. Gonzalez, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1515-1528, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1515,
  • Interball-1 observations of flux transfer events, by G. I. Korotova, D. G. Sibeck, and V. I. Petrov, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1451-1462, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1451,
  • Characteristics of mid-latitude planetary waves in the lower atmosphere derived from radiosonde data, by R. Wang, S. D. Zhang, H. G. Yang, and K. M. Huang, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1463-1477, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1463,
  • The equatorial ionospheric response over Tirunelveli to the 15 January 2010 annular solar eclipse: observations, by C. K. Nayak, D. Tiwari, K. Emperumal, and A. Bhattacharyya, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1371-1377, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1371,
  • The unusual persistence of an ozone hole over a southern mid-latitude station during the Antarctic spring 2009: a multi-instrument study, by E. A. Wolfram, J. Salvador, F. Orte, R. D'Elia, S. Godin-Beekmann, J. Kuttippurath, A. Pazmiño, F. Goutail, C. Casiccia, F. Zamorano, N. Paes Leme, and E. J. Quel, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1435-1449, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1435,
  • Planetary waves in the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere during 2009 Arctic major stratospheric warming, by P. Kishore, I. Velicogna, M. Venkat Ratnam, J. H. Jiang, and G. N. Madhavi, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1529-1538, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1529,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Friday, 19 October 2012

EISCAT_3D – SKA Technical Meeting Report

At the end of September, a number of participants in the EISCAT_3D project visited the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University, UK, for discussions with one of the key groups involved in the design of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The two projects have a large number of common issues, since the SKA will contain an aperture array covering the frequency range from 70 to 450 MHz, due to be deployed in Western Australia. This frequency range includes the EISCAT_3D band, and the EISCAT_3D team were therefore interested to see the developments in antenna and signal processing technology, with which the Cambridge team were working. The two projects established a good working relationship and identified a number of issues where future collaboration would be desirable.

The picture shows some of the meeting participants at the Lord’s Bridge field site of Cambridge University, where a small test array of “Christmas Tree” log-periodic antennas has been built as a test for the SKA Aperture Array. From left to right: Johan Borg (Luleå Technical University, E3D); Ian McCrea (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, E3D) ; Björn Gustafsson (EISCAT, E3D); Nima Razavi-Ghods (Cambridge, SKA); Leif Johansson (National Instruments, E3D); Eloy de Lera Acedo (Cambridge, SKA); Markku Lehtinen (Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, E3D); Frank Lind (MIT Haystack, E3D TAC chair) and Andy Faulkner (Cambridge, SKA).

Text: Ian McCrea (RAL); photo: Colin Lonsdale (MIT Haystack).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Winter in EISCAT Land

This morning the southernmost EISCAT site at Sodankylä awoke to a beautiful winter scene: overnight fell about 5 cm of wet snow. Perfect for making a snowman, but not ideal for working outside. Hopefully the winter weather will not cause problems to next week's (Tuesday, 23rd October 2012) replacement of the small mirror in the UHF antenna by a dipole ring feed, which will complete the conversion of the UHF remote antennae to VHF frequency.

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Sources of plasma in the high altitude cusp, by W.K. Peterson, K.J. Trattner, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 1-10, 2012, (link).
  • Multi-scale features of solar terrestrial coupling in the cusp ionosphere, by J. Moen, H.C. Carlson, Y. Rinne, Å. Skjæveland, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 11-19, 2012, (link).
  • Flux transfer events: Motion and signatures, by D.G. Sibeck, N. Omidi, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 20-24, 2012, (link).
  • Observations of a broad and dynamic region of radiation in geospace, by Jiasheng Chen, Ling-Hsiao Lyu, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 25-38, 2012, (link).
  • The cusp as a source of magnetospheric particles, by T.A. Fritz, B.M. Walsh, M. Klida, J. Chen, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 39-46, 2012, (link).
  • Simultaneous observations of the exterior cusp region, by B.M. Walsh, T.A. Fritz, J. Chen, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 47-55, 2012, (link).
  • Investigating the relationship between cusp energetic particle events and cusp diamagnetic cavities, by K.J. Trattner, S.M. Petrinec, S.A. Fuselier, R. Friedel, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 56-64, 2012, (link).
  • Energetic ions near the dayside magnetopause reconnection site: Implications for energization sources, by S.M. Petrinec, K.J. Trattner, S.A. Fuselier, T.D. Phan, V. Angelopoulos, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 65-69, 2012, (link).
  • On the origin of high-energy particles in the cusp diamagnetic cavity, by K. Nykyri, A. Otto, E. Adamson, E. Kronberg, P. Daly, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 70-81, 2012, (link).
  • Auroral precipitation/ion upwelling as a driver of neutral density enhancement in the cusp, by F. Brent Sadler, Marc Lessard, Eric Lund, Antonius Otto, Hermann Lühr, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 87–88, 82-90, 2012, (link).
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

PhD Thesis: On Statistical Theory of Radar Measurements

On 1st October 2013, Juha Vierinen defended his PhD thesis entitled "On Statistical Theory of Radar Measurements" (pdf, 6.4MB) at the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory. Dr Jorge L. Chau of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory near Lima, Perú, served as the opponent, and prof. Erkki Oja chaired the defence. Juha Vierinen, who has worked extensively with the EISCAT radars and has contributed to the EISCAT_3D development, will shortly graduate as Doctor of Science (Technology) from the Dept of Information and Computer Science, School of Science, Aalto-University of Finland.

During the defence ceremony, Juha Vierinen showed the latest results from the KAIRA facility, which has had a tremendously successful first month of operation receiving echoes from the Tromsø VHF radar as well as interplanetary and ionospheric scintillation.


Statistical treatment of radar measurements is important as most radar measurements are corrupted by random receiver noise. In addition to this, many radar targets themselves have to be modeled as random processes. It is therefore not a coincidence that this thesis uses the framework of statistical inverse problems for modeling radar measurements.

The introductory part of this thesis first goes through some important mathematical and numerical methods that can be used to model radar measurements and to apply these models in practice. We then describe several different types of radar measurements, with emphasis on high power large aperture radars. After this, we go through several useful radar measurement models. Finally, with the help of these models, we discuss optimal experiment design -- which typically amounts to radar transmission waveform optimization.

The publications included in this thesis contain practical applications of the topics described in the introduction, including amplitude domain estimation of incoherent scatter signals, radar transmission code optimization, inverse synthetic aperture radar, and measurements of space debris.


The photo shows Juha Vierinen inside the receiver cabin of the Sodankylä EISCAT UHF antenna, where he had installed his version of the cantenna radar for testing, trying to get it to work using a Big Dish. Photo Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • On the problem of Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer identification from plasma moments in Earth's magnetotail, by E. E. Grigorenko, R. Koleva, and J.-A. Sauvaud, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1331-1343, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1331,
  • Electron density profiles in the quiet lower ionosphere based on the results of modeling and experimental data, by V. Barabash, A. Osepian, P. Dalin, and S. Kirkwood, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1345-1360, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1345,
  • Computational and theoretical study of the wave-particle interaction of protons and waves, by P. S. Moya, A. F. Viñas, V. Muñoz, and J. A. Valdivia, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1361-1369, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1361,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Visit to KAIRA

This past week, the Executive Board of the 7th Framework preparatory phase project EISCAT_3D visited the KAIRA site at Kilpisjärvi, Finland. KAIRA is the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array, which was built by the colleagues from the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory for prototyping EISCAT_3D receiver technology. The site is now in operation, and the first results are very impressive, which you probably know already from the KAIRA blog.

On Wednesday, the weather was just fantastic, and we took the panoramic photo above. It was done by putting a time-lapse camera on a rotating mount on a tripod (you can see the shadow in the image!), taking a photo every second. For this image, one image per 30° rotation was selected, the centre slices cut out, and stitched together to get the full 360° image. Enjoy.

With this nice photo (click to enlarge), we wish all of you a great - and hopefully sunny - weekend!

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • The effect of a gamma ray flare on Schumann resonances, by A. P. Nickolaenko, I. G. Kudintseva, O. Pechony, M. Hayakawa, Y. Hobara, and Y. T. Tanaka, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1321-1329, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1321,
  • The "step feature" of suprathermal ion distributions: a discriminator, between acceleration processes?, by H. J. Fahr and H. Fichtner, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1315-1319, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1315,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Features of highly structured equatorial plasma irregularities deduced from CHAMP observations, by C. Xiong, H. Lühr, S. Y. Ma, C. Stolle, and B. G. Fejer, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1259-1269, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1259,
  • Chorus wave-normal statistics in the Earth's radiation belts from ray tracing technique, by H. Breuillard, Y. Zaliznyak, V. Krasnoselskikh, O. Agapitov, A. Artemyev, and G. Rolland, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1223-1233, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1223,
  • Environment and morphology of mesoscale convective systems associated with the Changma front during 9–10 July 2007, by J.-H. Jeong, D.-I. Lee, C.-C. Wang, S.-M. Jang, C.-H. You, and M. Jang, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1235-1248, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1235,
  • Low-frequency magnetic field fluctuations in Earth's plasma environment observed by THEMIS, by L. Guicking, K.-H. Glassmeier, H.-U. Auster, Y. Narita, and G. Kleindienst, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1271-1283, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1271,
  • Geosynchronous magnetic field responses to fast solar wind dynamic pressure enhancements: MHD field model, by T. R. Sun, C. Wang, N. L. Borodkova, and G. N. Zastenker, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1285-1295, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1285,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Friday, 31 August 2012

EISCAT Radar School: Group Photo

This is a busy week in Sodankylä, Finland, where the International EISCAT Radar School is taking place at the moment. On Thursday morning, all participants got together for the traditional group photo outside the SGO main building. A high-resolution image is available, too.

With this image we wish all of you a very good weekend!

Launch! RBSP is on its way!

Go RBSP! Launch of the NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes dual spacecraft mission occurred this morning at 4:05 AM EDT from Launch Complex 41 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, into a highly elliptical orbit designed to continually cycle between the inner and outer radiation belts at an apogee distance of over 5 Earth radii (> 32,000 km) and a perigee altitude of only 600 km. Along with other US geospace radar facilities such as the SuperDARN HF radar network, the Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar system at MIT Haystack Observatory in eastern Massachusetts will be participating in collaborative science experiments beginning later this fall to study magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes and their effects on the ionized and neutral upper atmosphere.

As the dual RBSP spacecraft trajectories cross through regions magnetically connected to the subauroral / mid-latitude ionosphere, onboard data on radiation belt electric and magnetic field and energetic particles will be complemented by simultaneous ionospheric measurements from Millstone Hill's wide field MISA steerable antenna and flow velocities from the SuperDARN radar network, allowing studies of the still poorly understood details of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling.

NASA also published the launch video (with sound!).

Text: Philip Erickson, photo from the announcement, where there is a larger version available. Image credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

KAIRA makes VHF bistatic!

Fantastic news from the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array: after first radar light was received last week, bistatic observations have now been made simultaneously along the VHF transmitter beam, which instantly becomes one dimension better than the single point ("common volume") intersection of any UHF remote site with the UHF transmitter.

For more details, please refer to the blog post about Lag-Profile Inversion of the Finnish KAIRA Station. Our colleagues of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) established KAIRA for EISCAT_3D prototyping work, which is off to a great start after this initial work.

Image: Juha Vierinen, Sodankylä, Finland.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

EISCAT Radar School: Breaking Records

The International EISCAT Radar School is underway at Sodankylä, Finland. In total, 14 learners and nine instructors are participating very actively and almost around the clock in the activities. Last night, three student radar experiments were run on the Tromsø UHF radar, and the participants will analyse their own radar experiments during the rest of the week in order to present their results on Saturday morning. Besides radar experiments, also other fun activities are taking place during the school.

The photo above shows the floating pontoon sauna of Juha Vierinen and Antti Kero, which is harboured on the shore of the observatory. A couple of nights ago, some participants went out onto the river in the late evening in order to have a sauna away from the shore and watch the moon rise above the river.

In the process, the record of how many laps someone swam around the sauna in the cold waters of Kitinen (above) was broken several times, and we are proud to announce that Richard Fallows holds the new record of five laps around the pontoon. Well done!

Photos: Thomas Ulich.

Monday, 27 August 2012

EISCAT Radar School underway at Sodankylä, Finland

Today the International EISCAT Radar School got underway at the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, which is the Finnish EISCAT UHF site. The school brings together 14 students and nine instructors from all over the world including Perú, Brazil, USA, UK, Ukraine, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, China.

The students are following a lecture by Anja Strømme of the National Science Foundation on the US radar facilities. Please find a programme of the lectures on-line here.

During the rest of the afternoon, the students are split into three groups. As groups they will work through some examples of the use of the Madrigal data base, in which most incoherent scatter radar data are stored. Accessing Madrigal is the most efficient way to start using ISR data, and interfaces are available for Matlab, Python and IDL, but full access is possible also through a standard web browser.

Photos: Thomas Ulich.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

European Research Course on Atmospheres 2013

The 21st session of ERCA (European Research Course on Atmospheres) will take place in Grenoble, France, from 7th January to 8th February 2013. The course is intended to students enrolled in PhD programmes, young scientists and engineers from universities and public/private research institutes wishing to complete their education with a very comprehensible research course about atmosphere, climate, and climate change studies.

The 21st session of ERCA will be organised in 6 different sessions (25 hours each) held in Grenoble.

  • Atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric composition changes;
  • Solar activity, space weather, planetary atmospheres;
  • Earth science system;
  • Earth climate system and the science of climate change;
  • Experimental techniques and research methodologies for the atmospheric sciences;
  • Hydrology and precipitation: water cycle in climate change;
  • Climate change impact and society.

It also includes a 1-week practical course (lidar and other observations techniques for atmospheric and planetological observations) held at Observatoire de Haute Provence (Southern France).

A number of student assistanships will be available.

Deadline for Registration: 30 September 2012.

More information at

Text adapted from Paolo Laj; photo Wikimedia Commons (source).

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • A comparison of two different techniques for deriving the quiet day curve from SARINET riometer data, by J. Moro, C. M. Denardini, E. Correia, M. A. Abdu, N. J. Schuch, and K. Makita, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1159-1168, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1159,
  • Plasma parameter analysis of the Langmuir decay process via Particle-in-Cell simulations, by M. A. Diaz, M. Zettergren, J. L. Semeter, and M. Oppenheim, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1169-1183, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1169,
  • Underlying mechanisms of transient luminous events: a review, by V. V. Surkov and M. Hayakawa, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1185-1212, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1185,
  • Simulation study of the large-scale modification of the mid-latitude F-layer by HF radio waves with different powers, by G. I. Mingaleva, V. S. Mingalev, and O. V. Mingalev, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1213-1222, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1213,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Friday, 17 August 2012

EISCAT UHF conversion to VHF

The EISCAT Council, on recommendation from the EISCAT Science Oversight Committee (SOC), decided that the remote UHF receivers located at Kiruna, Sweden, and Sodankylä, Finland, should be converted to the current VHF frequency of 224 MHz. The background to this is that the UHF frequency of 930 MHz lies within the radio band, which is nowadays used for GSM mobile communication, and the frequency protection, which was in place at the remote sites, has ended a while ago. In Sodankylä, e.g., we have noticed in autumn 2011, that new transmitters had come on-line, which makes incoherent scatter observations impossible due to interference. Thus the EISCAT Scientific Association has lost its unique capability of tristatic ISR measurements.

In order to preserve this ability, a plan has been made to convert the UHF 32-m parabolic dishes to 224 MHz in order to receive echoes of the Tromsø VHF radar signal when the radar points to zenith. Unfortunately, the VHF is not allowed to point further south than zenith, but it is estimated, that even at zenith, the remote sites will see the VHF signal. Astonishingly, even though the remote antennae are designed for the higher frequency, when considering all advantages and disadvantages of the conversion, they should perform at the VHF frequency just as well as at the UHF frequency.

The conversion is taking place during the present summer and is expected to be completed before the winter sets in again. Here are some photos sent to us by Director Esa Turunen.

Lars-Göran Vanhainen of EISCAT Kiruna explains the changes to Jorge Chau, Director of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory.

The dipole ring feed, which is going to replace the secondary reflector in the 32-m dish antennae, i.e. the small mirror suspended by the tripod.

Lars-Göran Vanhainen explaining the front-end to Jorge Chau.

A close-up of the front-end.

Aluminium frame, onto which the base plate of the ring feed will be mounted.
With these photos and news of the latest development at EISCAT, we wish all of you a very happy weekend!

Photos: Esa Turunen.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Vacancy: Professorship in Atmospheric Physics, Kühlungsborn

The Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Kühlungborn (IAP) and the Rostock University invite applications for the position of a Professor of Experimental Atmospheric Physics.

The candidate's research activities should focus on experimental investigations of the Earth’s atmosphere by means of radars and sounding rockets from the ground to the lower thermosphere. He will lead the division 'Radar Soundings and Sounding Rockets' at the IAP and is expected to co-operate with the two other divisions of theoretical and experimental atmospheric research (see for more details). The candidate should have experience in leading a team of scientists and in applying for research funds. The professorship is assigned to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the Rostock University. The candidate is expected to take part in the training and lecturing programme of the faculty, including the supervision of post-graduate and doctoral students.

Candidates should have an excellent scientific standing and an international reputation in their research field. They should have a professional degree (PhD and habilitation, or equivalent qualification). The position is subject to the conditions of employment of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (LHG- MV §58 and §61). The salary is according to TVL-MW (salary class 15). Applications of female candidates are encouraged. In case of equal qualification, handicapped candidates are given preference.

Applications including a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, reprints of five important publications, documentation on previous research/teaching ex- perience, and a description of future research plans should be submitted by 17th September 2012, to Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics, c/o Professor Dr Franz-Josef Lübken (Email: luebken -at- iap-kborn -dot- de), Schloss-Str. 6, 18225 Kühlungsborn, Germany.

Deadline for applications: 17th September 2012.

Text: Franz-Josef Lübken; Photo: Gerd Baumgarten, both at IAP Kühlungsborn, Germany.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Wave influence on polar mesosphere summer echoes above Wasa: experimental and model studies, by P. Dalin, S. Kirkwood, M. Hervig, M. Mihalikova, D. Mikhaylova, I. Wolf, and A. Osepian, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1143-1157, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1143,
  • Multi-year investigations of aerosols from an island station, Port Blair, in the Bay of Bengal: climatology and source impacts, by S. Naseema Beegum, K. Krishna Moorthy, Mukunda M. Gogoi, S. Suresh Babu, and S. K. Pandey, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1113-1127, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1113,
  • Solar flares as proxy for the young Sun: satellite observed thermosphere response to an X17.2 flare of Earth's upper atmosphere, by S. Krauss, B. Fichtinger, H. Lammer, W. Hausleitner, Yu. N. Kulikov, I. Ribas, V. I. Shematovich, D. Bisikalo, H. I. M. Lichtenegger, T. V. Zaqarashvili, M. L. Khodachenko, and A. Hanslmeier, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1129-1141, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1129,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Friday, 10 August 2012

ISR Summer School: Hockey Radar

Besides a lot of hard work analysing student radar experiments, which culminated in fantastic presentations on the last day of the Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) Summer School, a lot of fun was had including sessions of hockey. Of course, when scientists play hockey during a radar school, odd components are to be expected.

During an earlier part of the school, Phil Erickson demonstrated his homemade radar, a very basic device capable to measure Doppler shift and thus velocity of a target. Of course we had to try and bring the radar to the hockey game to collect some data. The colour plot above shows one minute of radar data. The colour scale is in m/s. For comparison: 5 m/s equals 18 km/h or 11.2 mph; last night in the London 2012 Olympics, Usain Bolt won gold over 200 m with a time of 19.32 s, which means an average of 10.35 m/s, and even more impressively, David Rudisha broke his own world record over 800 m and won gold with a time of 1:40.91, which averages at 8.93 m/s. The radar data suggests that some of the scientists moved even faster. This might be due to several reasons: during the hockey game, there wasn't one distinct radar target, but 12 players, many of which would be in the radar beam (or a side lobe) simultaneously. Moreover, the players are waiving their arms and hockey sticks about, creating an amplitude modulation on top of their own speed, a bit like the heavy ion in a cloud of thermal electrons. Also, during the game, the players do run only for very short distances, and thus these very short bursts of high speed may well exceed the speed of sprint athletes, who have to keep up a fast pace for the duration of the race.

In addition to the radar, we deployed a time lapse camera, which filmed the hockey game at a rate of two images per second, which was then assembled in a short film running at 25 frames per second. Thus one second in the resulting film equals 12.5 seconds real time. There is a plan of matching the time lapse to the radar data, but this proved tricky due to the accuracy of the clock in the time lapse camera and some other technical problems – lame excuses, we messed it up, because we forgot a synchronising clap at a specific time in front of the camera...  You can view a 45-sec section of the much longer time lapse movie here.

After the hockey game, we saw this sign on the wall outside the gym, which no-one had noticed before. I guess we broke at least the last rule by bringing a radar and a camera, and we are still wondering what the receptionist might have said had we asked the question of "can we bring a coffee-can radar?"

Radar data: Phil Erickson; photos and time lapse: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!
  • Solar wind plasma interaction with solar probe plus spacecraft, by S. Guillemant, V. Génot, J.-C. Matéo-Vélez, R. Ergun, and P. Louarn, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1075-1092, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1075,
  • Auroral kilometric radiation from a nonstationary thin plasma cavity, by T. M. Burinskaya and J.-L. Rauch, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1093-1097, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1093,
  • Spatio-temporal structure of Alfvén waves excited by a sudden impulse localized on an L-shell, by D. Yu. Klimushkin, P. N. Mager, and K.-H. Glassmeier, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1099-1106, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1099,
  • Multifractal analysis of interplanetary magnetic field obtained during CME events, by M. J. A. Bolzan and R. R. Rosa, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 1107-1112, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-1107,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Monday, 6 August 2012

ISR Summer School: Mountain Hiking

Somehow, at the end of an Incoherent Scatter Radar Summer School, a mountain has to be climbed. Last year, when we had a joint EISCAT-NSF Radar School in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, near the Sondrestrom radar facility, we took almost the whole course to climb Mt Evans. This time, after the last session on Saturday afternoon, we decided to climb Sulphur Mountain, which is some 700 m above the level of Banff, Canada, where the school took place.

Our group hiked up to the peak along a well-made path via countless switchbacks. Instead, one can also take the cable car, but that might turn out more difficult than planned: the queues on the summit for a ride back were endless, and we decided that it'll be quicker to walk back down after enjoying the view and an ice cream. The photo above shows the view away from Banff, on the down a valley of seemingly untouched, endless forest. At the left edge of the photo, the summit station of the cable car can be seen.

From the cable car station, one can follow a wooden path to the near-by highest peak. Once there, one finds a small wooden building, which turns out to be a weather station operated by Norman Bethune Sanson between 1903 and 1946. This goes nicely with the memories from Mt Evans, where we found the remains of another meteorological station, which was in operation during the same time.

Of interest to space scientists is also the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station, which was established for the International Polar Year of 1957–58. Because of its high altitude and proximity to the northern geomagnetic pole, the station was deemed especially suited to monitor "solar cosmic rays," i.e. cosmic-ray type high-energy particles emitted during solar flares. The station was closed in 1978 and the building was dismantled in 1981.

Finally, on a brilliantly sunny day like this, the view of Banff was stunning, especially with the backdrop of mountains and forest. Just left from the centre of the image is the centre of Banff, the high street continues across the bridge to the other side of the river. Somewhat to the right from the downtown area, but on the opposite side of the river from where this photo was taken, the conference centre can be seen, which hosted this year's ISR Summer School.

Photos: Thomas Ulich; click to enlarge; photos about the measurement stations are taken of information signs on the summit.

Friday, 3 August 2012

ISR Summer School – Dynamic Group Photo

Yesterday, it was time for the group photo of the participants of the Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) Summer School in Banff, Canada. While going out in front of the building in which the radar school is taking place, everyone was instructed to bring their ISR Tinfoil Toques, which were distributed at the beginning. Near the end of the brief photo shoot, everyone was asked to throw their toques into the air in a jubilant fashion.

The entire event has been filmed with a time lapse camera resulting in a 24-sec movie clip. Another version can be downloaded from the school's web site, which also hosts copies of the lectures.

By the way, if you want to read up on earlier posts about this radar school, or indeed on earlier radar schools, we have included a direct link to posts tagged "radar school" in the menu on the right.

Photo and time lapse: Thomas Ulich.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

ISR Summer School: Build your own Radar!

Last night we witnessed a very cool demonstration by Phil Erickson, who has build himself an imaging radar at a cost of a few 100 USD. Impossible? So we thought. Of course, this is not an incoherent scatter radar, and instead of having the typical 1-2 MW of power, it has only some 15 mW of power, where "M" is separated from "m" by nine orders of magnitude.

The radar is based on a course developed by Greg Charvat and Alan Fenn of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the course materials and instructions are online at the MIT OpenCourseWare site.

Here's a close-up of the radar as build by Phil Erickson, who works at the MIT Haystack Observatory at Millstone Hill, near Boston, USA. The most prominent parts are the "cantennae," which one can obtain by drinking lots of coffee – which is easily achieved among space scientists, or then maybe in some radar facility's control room in the middle of the night... Some electronics connected to these coffee cans makes a radar, which can be powered by eight AA batteries (two black cases) and which runs at 2.4 GHz, which is a band reserved for, e.g., wireless LAN etc, which means that anyone can use it.

With the help of a basic oscilloscope, the participants are looking at the signal at different points of transmitter and receiver.

This fully analogue radar can be sampled by simply connecting it to the audio input of a computer and sampling at the standard 44.1 kHz rate of typical sound cards. These data are stored in WAV files, which can then be read into your favourite data analysis software and plotted to give a target's location, speed or even structure.

In order to test the setup, some of the participants were asked to run towards the running radar at different speeds, one after the other. Thereafter the data was run through a fairly simple computer program after which the guessing game started: who was fastest? Which trace belongs to which person? A lot of fun for everyone!

Photos: Thomas Ulich; click to enlarge.