Monday, 31 January 2011



Did you know that the KAIRA project is now on Twitter? You can follow us there to keep in touch with the latest news. As the summer build commences, we'll use it as a way of keeping everyone informed with reports from the construction site. Short, sharp, to-the-point and very, very up-to-date!

Friday, 28 January 2011

SGO rakentaa Kilpisjärvelle radiovastaanotinaseman

An announcement of the project (suomeksi / in Finnish language) has been posted on the University of Oulu web site.

Daily Image

Today, KAIRA receives the honour of being featured as the ASTRON Daily Image!

Every day, ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) posts an interesting image from the world of radio astronomy. These images vary between famous astronomers, the latest observational results and developments in new instruments and telescopes.

Today it is our turn to be featured, with a report on the deployment of the two test tiles which was carried out last October, and how they have fared so far in the winter conditions.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Mid-winter conditions

Taken in the middle of the day in early January, here are our test tiles in action. In the first picture we look past the snow-depth marker in the direction of the raised tile. Although there is 100 to 150 millimetres of snow on it, the situation remains reasonable.

The ground tile, on the other hand, is completely covered... as we expected. Drifting snow banks up against the side of the tile and covers it in a thick, uneven layer.

We shall continue to monitor the progress of the tiles as the Arctic winter drags on.

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.