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This page contains brief descriptions for all the future projects. Where available, you can click on “Details...” to get more detailed information.

HF Propagation

Existing models of HF radio propagation, such as the ITU-R model, do not properly account for absorption effects which occur at high-latitudes. The large absorption database from Lancaster's IRIS project and other riometers around the globe will allow this situation to be corrected, resulting in more accurate predictions for high-latitude communications. These results can also be incorporated into HF communication simulators for radio-operator training.

Study of the D-region ionosphere by active experiments

The D-region is the lowest part of the ionosphere and exhibits the most complicated chemistry. It is also one of the most difficult regions to study experimentally. New active techniques involving the injection of high-power radio waves and diagnosis by means of high-resolution imaging riometers can provide information on the processes in the D-region and help unravel the aeronomy of this part of the atmosphere.

Ionospheric scintillation

Scintillation is the process which causes stars to twinkle. A similar process occurs in the ionosphere and results in the "twinkling" of radio signals from radio stars and satellites. For satellite communications, this is problematic. Imaging riometers such as IRIS detect scintillation of radio stars on a daily basis. Coupled with data from radar systems, this will allow the study of the F-region electron density irregularities which give rise to the scintillation effect.

Natural VLF radio signals and particle precipitation

Naturally occuring radio signals in the very low frequency (VLF) band are associated with processes in the magnetosphere which can result in particle precipitation into the auroral ionosphere. Combination of data from VLF radio receivers with particle precipitation data from imaging riometers and all-sky cameras allows the study of these processes.

Extend the energy range for the large-scale high-resolution maps of characteristic energy of precipitating particles (Details...)

no brief description

Large-scale Maps of Hall and Pedersen Conductance (Details...)

no brief description

Large-scale maps of field-aligned currents (Details...)

no brief description

Corrected All-sky Mirror System (CAMS) (Details...)

no brief description

Stereoscopic Triangulation of the Absorption Region

The existing 49-beam riometer (IRIS) and the new 1000-beam riometer will have an overlapping field of view. This means that triangulation can be used to measure the altitude, and possibly the thickness, of the radio wave absorption region for the first time.

Mesospheric OH Temperature Imager

The mesosphere at 85 km altitude is the interface between the lower and upper atmosphere and is also the region of the lowest known atmospheric temperatures (~ -100° C). By using selected optical emissions of the OH molecule, temperature maps of the mesosphere can be generated, providing as yet unknown information on the structure of this critical region.

Black Aurora

The anti-aurora exhibits many of the features of the normal aurora. Since it is black and can only be observed under very special conditions, it has been poorly studied. A new ultra-sensitive camera will be installed next to the EISCAT radar to search for and perform the first radar measurements of the phenomenon.

Artificial Aurora in the Polar Cap

DASI has been used successfully to image high-latitude HF-induced artificial aurora from the HEATING facility (see above). When the SPEAR project is completed, a new ultra-sensitive camera will be installed on Svalbard to study the polar cap artificial aurora. This is important since the magnetic field geometry is different and SPEAR will be more flexible in terms of beam pointing direction and HF wavelength selection.

The Statistical Absorption Oval

The large-scale visible aurora appears as statistical ovals centered on the magnetic poles of the earth (see Figure 5). The aurora and absorption are the result of precipitating electrons with typical energies of < 10 keV and > 20 keV, respectively. The global statistical distribution of absorption is to be determined by combining the data from a large number of riometers in the world, and sorting it according to relevant geomagnetic indices. This will be useful for HF propagation predictions. The relationship between the absorption and auroral ovals will be determined, including their mapping into the magnetosphere.

Coronal Mass Ejection Statistics

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are major outbursts of mass and energy from the sun (see introduction), which can have dramatic effects on satellite and ground-based communication systems. The imaging riometer for ionospheric studies (IRIS) is to be used to quantify the intensity, time of occurrence and location of CME effects on the ionosphere.

Absolute Optical Calibration

The absolute spectral brightness of any source is difficult to determine and is usually calibrated against national or international standards by direct comparison. Such calibrations are expensive but essential for quantitative work with optical scientific measurements. A theory has been developed which allows the absolute spectral brightness of any tungsten bulb to be determined by transforming it into an equivalent black body radiator. This method is to be tested in the laboratory.

Analyse Fabry-Perot Interference Fringes

The Fabry-Perot Interferometer (FPI) remotely senses the wind speeds and neutral temperatures of the upper atmosphere (mesosphere and thermosphere) in northern Scandinavia. Well known formulas describe how the Doppler velocity and gas temperature is to be extracted from the interference fringe images. An automated routine is required to scan large numbers of data images extracting the measurements whilst compensating for instrumental effects.

Current Vortices

In conjunction with the IMAGE magnetometers IRIS has been used for the study of small-scale and short-lived current vortices observed in the evening sector. The electric fields, conductances and horizontal currents as well as particle spectra have been measured by EISCAT, optical signatures of these vortices are obtained by all-sky cameras, while IRIS provides information on the associated energetic particle precipitation. Preliminary studies indicate that the current vortices are produced by ionospheric Hall currents which encircle flux tubes containing upward and downward field-aligned currents.


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