Thursday 10 February 2011


EISCAT can sometimes be a confusing term. Sometimes it refers to the organisation, sometimes the instruments that it operates and at other times to an upcoming project, which is closely connected with our KAIRA work.

The EISCAT Scientific Association is an international research organisation operating three powerful scientific radars in Northern Scandinavia. It is funded and operated by research councils in various member countries. EISCAT itself, stands for European Incoherent SCATter, which is a reference to the radar technique that is used (more on this later!). These radars, along with an Ionospheric Heater and Dynasonde facility are used to study the ionosphere and the interaction between the Sun and the Earth (a field broadly referred to as Solar-Terrestrial Physics).

EISCAT operate several sites. The transmitters are located near Longyearbyen (Svalbard) and Tromsø (Norway). In addition, there are receiver stations located near Kiruna (Sweden) and Sodankylä (Finland) at the SGO site. The headquarters for the EISCAT Scientific Association is located in Kiruna and there are support groups in various of the institutes and universities of the member countries. The transmitter and receiver sites are all marked on the map that was recently posted.

In addition to the existing facilities, EISCAT is now undertaking a new ambitious project - EISCAT_3D. This is a new-generation radar that will provide a huge increase in capabilities of any existing scientific radars. KAIRA, in addition to its own scientific goals and close ties to the LOFAR project, is intricately connected with this EISCAT_3D development work, and there will be a lot more posted about this during the coming months.

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