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The Upper Atmosphere


This research is supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DARPA, and the Office of Naval Research


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We study the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere using high power radars such as the Arecibo and Jicamarca incoherent scatter radars. We also develop and use small coherent scatter radars like the 30 MHz imaging radar interferometer, shown here deployed on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands in support of experiments at Arecibo. One goal of our research is an understanding of the physics of plasma irregularities in the low-, mid-, and high-latitude ionosphere through observation, analysis, and numerical simulation. Another is the development of new techniques for processing radar data such as are involved in in-beam radar imaging. Finally, we seek to understand the composition, energetics, and dynamics of the ionosphere and the systems coupled to it.


A workshop was convened at Cornell University during spring break from March 30 -- April 1, 2015, to honor (belatedely) Professor Donald Farley on the occasion of his 80th birthday and to consider the future of radio and space physics research. About 60 scientists from North America, South America, and Europe attended. The final workshop program is now available. Photos of the workshop are hosted at this site (thanks Craig). We have also produced a workshop report which summarizes the discussions that took place.

T he Upper Atmospheric Facilities program in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences at the National Science Foundation has released a new report describing its current status, scientific contributions, and strategy for continued progress. The report represents a first step toward an integrated management and operations plan. A copy of the report can be found here.

C ornell investigators will be supporting a series of NASA sounding rocket experiments from the Poker Flat Rocket Range in January and February of 2007. The JOULE II and HEX missions are devoted to studying different aspects of the aurora. The Cornell team will be operating the 30 MHz coherent scatter radar imager, which is located at the High Latitude Monitoring Station in Anchorage, Alaska. Radar data will be available in real time in the early morning hours during the experiments.


Our research takes us to facilities located throughout the world. Shown above (left to right, top to bottom) are the Arecibo Radio Observatory, the Altair radar on Kwajalein Atoll, the rocket launch site on Kwajalein used during the EQUIS II campaign, and our portable radar installation on St. Croix, USVI.