Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The sky is the limit?

The main purpose of the new Kilpisjärvi atmospheric receiver array is to function as a remote station for the VHF incoherent scatter radar of the EISCAT Scientific Association located in Tromsø, Norway. Because the receiver will be constructed using LOFAR hardware, it will have a usable frequency band covering 30-240 MHz, with only a small gap where FM broadcast stations are located (80-120 MHz). Due to the large number of antenna elements, the standard antenna array can receive along 254 narrow beams. KAIRA can be used in a number of different ways:
  • Wide band imaging riometer, as a complementary instrument to the IRIS riometer located close by. As a riometer, KAIRA can be used without any radar transmitter to study mesospheric (D region) ion chemistry and the effects of active ionospheric modification experiments (Heating) carried out at EISCAT Tromsø.
  • In terms of meteor studies, there are a number of possible transmitters in the vicinity that will allow measurements of specular meteor trails, allowing for accurate orbital element determination. In addition to this, there are several meteor radars close by that might yield usable echos.
  • It remains to be seen if actual mesosphere-stratosphere-troposphere (MST) measurements can be done, as the site is located fairly far from the nearest MST radar transmitters. At least mesospheric measurements should be feasible.
  • Passive radar using digital radio broadcasts.
In addition to these there are several other possible uses for KAIRA as shown in the figure on the right column of this blog.

There are also several smaller instruments that could be co-located with KAIRA to make the site a truly versatile platform for atmospheric studies. Such installations will be considered together with our collaborators in due course.

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