University of Bath Deploys a New Radar in the Rocky Mountains to Study the Edge of Space
The project involves combining a VHF radar
that measures winds at heights of 80 to 100 km above the ground with all-sky cameras that image the
“airglow” layers found in the atmosphere at these heights. This powerful combination of instruments
will reveal the subtle physics of how the winds, waves and tides of this part of the atmosphere
interact with each other and couple the lower, middle and upper atmosphere.
The US partner in the project is Professor Mike Taylor of the Centre for Atmospheric & Space Sciences at Utah State University. A team from Bath consisting of Prof Nick Mitchell, Charlie Beldon, David Sandford and Vicky Tunbridge visited the Observatory to check on the radar’s performance and visit the site. The first data recorded by the radar is now beginning to arrive.
Bear Lake Observatory is in the Rocky Mountains. Other equipment used at the observatory includes a dynasonde, mesospheric temperature mapper, magnetometer, SEC RIFS Project (3-axis magnetometer, GPS L1-band scintillation monitor and an Ionosonde) and a SoumiNet GPS receiver. The UK part of the project is funded by a grant of £334k from the Natural Environment Research Council for a project entitled "Winds, waves, clouds & meteors in the mesosphere" awarded to Professor Mitchell and Dr Ivan Astin. A fully funded PhD studentship is available to work with Professor Nick Mitchell on this and related projects, starting in October 2008.