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New instrument underway to improve mesosphere measurements over northern Norway

Receiving system from LOFAR/Astron measures echoes from MAARSY

A powerful radar field operated by the Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) in northern Norway comprises 433 antennas. Based on the island of Andoya, the MAARSY (Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System) system measures mesospheric irregularities that occur between 50 and 90 kilometers in altitude. To complement these measurements, a large truck from the Netherlands has now arrived in the north.

On board is a container full of state-of-the-art technology: a system using LOFAR technology, which is proven in radio astronomy and provided by the Dutch Astrotec Holding. The goal of the project, called MAARSY3D, is to complement the observations from the existing system: MAARSY measures almost exclusively in a monostatic configuration to derive line-of-sight parameters. With the new receiver system, MAARSY will also be able to perform oblique (bistatic) measurements. The goal is to perform high-resolution 3D measurements.

"In the near future we will collaborate with a comparable receiving facility in Kilpisjärvi/Finland (KAIRA, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory) to produce the first 3D measurements of targets in the mesosphere with MAARSY," says Prof. Dr. Jorge Chau, head of the radar sounding department at IAP. "This will also help study the spatial irregularities of the radar echoes."

This week the system arrived at MAARSY. In the middle of 2023, it will be transported to Langoya Island, about 60 kilometers from Andoya. Another station could complete the system in the long term.