Collaborative Research: A New 50 MHz Radar for Meteor and Aeronomical Science

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The investigators will develop a prototype of next generation meteor radars with improved ability for deriving neutral winds, temperatures and individual meteor properties. The data will be used to determine a more accurate characterization of the global meteor flux and its effect on upper atmospheric physics. The radar will be operated at a site in Pennsylvania and will be capable of observing at least two of three primary types of meteor reflection: 1) the commonly used specular meteor trails; 2) the recently understood non-specular trails, which result from plasma instability and turbulence generated field aligned irregularities (FAI); and 3) meteor head-echoes, which are a radar target moving at the speed of the meteoroid. Since the system can detect and resolve in time and space at least two mechanisms, we can study the observation biases introduced by each technique. These biases plague our current characterization of the meteor input function into the upper atmosphere, introducing uncertainties in the estimates of atmospheric parameters. Additionally, the detailed radio signature produced by both head echoes and non-specular trails are far more complex than specular echoes. The system will be designed using the latest digital technology, improving the available data for the study of both meteors, and the dynamics and energetics of themesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) atmospheric region. The investigators have built strong domestic and international collaborations that will be crucial in achieving the scientific and educational goals of the program. The research will provide undergraduate and graduate students exposure to a wide variety of fields including aeronomy, meteor science, design and construction of radar systems, radio frequency engineering, and software radar.

    Effective start/end date6/1/075/31/14


    • National Science Foundation: $461,063.00


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