Student-campaign on middle atmosphere phenomena.



Within the course AGF-210 we will have an observational campaign directed at investigating the conditions in the upper part of the middle atmosphere. The campaign will take place mainly in the week 46 but some preparatory work and report writing will be in weeks 45 and 47.  This  is a version of campaigns that we have been planning for some time and which we have called “Focused Experimental and theoretical STudent Activity” with acronym FESTA.  They  are planned to be run every year but its content  and scientific goal must not be the same each year.  This fall the students will run a campaign where much of the instruments located near UNIS, and some at Ny-Ålesund, will be used to collect data on the middle atmosphere.  Some of the instruments are run on a routine basis and we will have access to the data, others are especially being run for our purpose.  Students will evaluate if data collected from other sources outside Svalbard via internet (Satellite data, magnetometer, ionosonde etc) are of interest and if so, include them in the report.



Data-collecting instruments.


  1. The Auroral station in Adventdalen


The Auroral Station in Adventdalen, Norway. Storm-type aurora at 17 January 23:48 UT, 1994.


The instrumentation at the Auroral Station in Adventdalen consists of several optical instruments, devoted to passive monitoring of processes taking place in the middle and upper atmosphere. See station web server for a detailed description of each instrument:


In the FESTA campaign we aim to use the following instruments:


a) The spectrometers

The Ebert-Fastie spectrometers are scanning target intensities over wavelength. The spectrometers consists of a periscope which can be pointed in any direction in the geomagnetic meridian plane, an entrance slit, a mirror, a grating and a photomultiplier detector mounted on the exit slit. Spectrometers can be used in the UV, visible and IR regions depending on the type of photomultiplier used.


We will mainly use the Silver Bullet spectrometer (zenith view), scanning in the NIR region, to obtain spectra of the airglow. From these spectra we will reduce the temperature from a synthetic fit between measurements and model.


Instrument Specification:

     Time resolution:      >5 min

     Spatial coverage:     zenith

     Spatial resolution:   5 deg

     Spectral resolution:  4 angstroms  (7250-8650)


(A) Image of ½ m Ebert Fastie. (B) Optical elements of spectrometer. (1) entrance slit, (2) concave mirror, (3) grating, (4) exit slit, (5) lens, (6) detector and (7) order sorting filter.



b) The Meridian Scanning Photometers

The MSP is a major source of information on the N-S motion of the dayside and night aurora. It scans the magnetic meridian with 5 filter tilted photometers. The activity of the sky is mapped as a function of time along the N-S geomagnetic plane. It can identify the local time position of the ionospheric signatures of the separatrix and the cusp. It is also used in conjunction with the MSP at NYA to determine auroral heights.


Instrument Specification:

     Time resolution       16 sec to assemble meridian scan

     Spatial coverage:     N-S gm meridian (45 deg W of N gg)

     Spatial resolution:   1 angular deg.

     Spectral resolution:  typically 0.4 nm

     Channels: 4278 (N2+),  4861(Hb), 5577 (OI), 6300 (OI) and 8446 (OI)



c) The All Sky Video Camera (ALSC)


All sky video frame from the Auroral Station in Adventdalen, Norway  24 December 1995.


 This instrument consist basically of a fish eye lens, an light intensifier, relay optics and a video camera. The all sky images obtained in real time is used to get an overview of the auroral activity.


       Instrument Specification:

     Time resolution:         25 frames per sec.

     Spatial coverage:       Total Sky

     Spatial resolution:     0.5 degree near the zenith

     Spectral resolution:   VIS


d) The All Sky Imager with Filter Wheel

This camera is constructed as the above video camera, with the exception that an extra filter wheel is added and the detector is cooled to obtained less noise and longer exposure times. We can use the NIR channel to obtain an image of the total all sky airglow emissions. The other channels gives us additional information on auroral morphology etc.


Instrument Specification:

     Time resolution:        Up to every 10 sec.

     Spatial coverage:       Total Sky

     Spatial resolution:     512x512x8 bits (images)

     Spectral resolution:    Max 5 bands of 2.0 nm

     Channels: 5577 (OI), 6300 (OI) and NIR



2.    Eiscat Svalbard Radar (ESR). This radar operates at 500 MHz and can give information on electron density and temperature in the D-layer. It can also give information on wave-activity in the D-layer. ESR will be run for 3 hours each day in week 46 from  LT 1300 to 1600.  The personnel at Eiscat is hard at work to finalize some of their analysing programs so we will get out the relevant data within a short time after the observations.  There are special problems related to these kind of D-layer observations where  ground-clutter is the main problem.  ESR is being operated by Eiscat personnel and we will have direct access to data. 






  1. Meteor radar.  This radar is being located below Mine 7 at the bottom of the slope.  It is collocated with the Sousy radar (which will not be run).  It analyses ionised trails from meteorites, due to the heat production while entering the Earth’s atmosphere.  The main trail production occurs between 70 km height to somewhat above 100 km.  The trails are analysed for wind and  temperatures within the trail region. This radar is run on a routine basis 24 hours a day the whole year.  We will get access to the analysed wind and temperature data.







  1. Lidar at Ny-Ålesund.  This laser can identify the height of the OH layer. Data will be made available to us.



  1. Ebert Fastie at Ny-Ålesund.One ½ m focal length Ebert Fastie is installed at the Sverdrup station. See above description of spectrometers. It is setup to scan the airglow band OH(8,3) and the auroral lines 6300Å OI, 6364 OI and Ha. The instrument is controlled remotely through internet.


  1. Rocket instrumentation.  It has been our intention to use rocket measurements in most FESTA campaigns.  We have developed a miniaturized payload which can measure a considerable number of mesospheric parameters with a very high space resolution.  The payloads were being launched by a small, high G (150G) booster (motor) and we have had several successful launches up until 2000.  However, the present version (Viper IIIA) of the US-produced motors were found out to be unstable after being separated from the payload, and were since 2000 forbidden to use without ballast.  With ballast they do not have a sufficient apogee (max height) for our purpose.  A new version of the booster (Canadian produced: Excalibur 2)  will be tested in mid-November this year.  If successful, we expect to have series of rocket launches in the years to come (but not this year), also in connection with future FESTA.  In the present FESTA campaign  the students will be trained in the use of the payloads and how to calibrate some of  its instruments.








Overview over student-activities.


The student part of the activity prior to, during and after the campaign will be divided into several parts. 


1.      The students of AGF 210 will be divided into two groups.  Each group will work together throughout the campaign and also write a common report on their results from the campaign.


2.      The report must contain a description of   processes such as wave activity, wave breaking and heating, precipitation, meteor activity and so on in the region from about 70 to 100 km, which we will investigate.


  1. There will be some training in the use of the instruments, and lectures in the physical basis for the different instruments.  The hands-on training will be mainly for the optical instrumentation and the rocket payload. 


  1. The student  report shall contain a fairly detailed description of all the different instruments in use during the campaign and the physical basis for the collection of the different atmospheric parameters.  An evaluation of the strength and weakness of the different instruments, and the results they give, shall also be part of the report.


  1. A description of the rocket payload and results from tests and calibrations shall also be part of the report.


  1. Students will monitor the data coming in from the different instruments.  In the main period from 1300-1600 LT (when the Eiscat radar is scheduled to run) this will mainly take place at the Auroral Station.  They will judge if especially interesting atmospheric activities occur and  make quick plots of the results of the different instruments during and around such activities.  Every second day one of the two groups will show and we will all discuss the main results of the day.  To show the data  on paper and also on the screen (Powerpoint) is preferred.


  1. The main aim of the campaign for the students is for them  to get to know and to use the different instruments to study the mesospheric  temperature and to look for wave activity in the upper part of the mesosphere. Especially interesting periods could be for example times with much particle precipitation or other magnetospheric activity, linked to the solar activity.  Some such periods may possibly be predicted by the use of internet data on the solar activity. It may also be of interest to collect other data outside the Svalbard region in connection with special active periods (see links at the Auroral Station home page).



  1. The two groups shall each prepare and deliver a report containing a description of the region we investigate, an evaluation/description of the different instruments and the results of the campaign.  The report shall be finished by the end of week 47 (which ends on Friday 22 November).  In the work towards a final report it is important that the groups make a plan for their work, that they divide the tasks, write a log of their results (and information on the different instruments as needed) and results from discussions between the participants in the campaign.


Time Schedule: week44, week45 & week46