(note: The HAARP program is part of a military installation in Alaska, as we've reported in other posts.. Although there are other countries currently doing electromagnetic research in the far north, no one knows for sure if the installations take into account the HAARP activity or whether they choose to ignore the very real electrical charges that HAARP generates into the ionosphere. Below we feature a smaller installation based on 2 northern continents. Excerpts and all images unless otherwise noted from LA TROBE University)
TIGER (Tasman International Geospace Environment Radar) is part of an international network of similar HF radars called SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) operated by ten nations to provide simultaneous coverage of both southern and northern polar regions.
TIGER explores the impact of solar disturbances on Earth by monitoring the location of aurora and related phenomena occurring in the ionosphere - 100 to 300km above the Earth.
It consists of two radars, one in Tasmania and one in New Zealand, with beams that intersect and explore an area half the size of Australia.
The radars direct HF radio signals via the ionosphere towards Antarctica and detect weak echoes from structures in the ionosphere.
These echoes are used to form images of the ionosphere structures and measure their speed and direction of motion.
The radars also detect echoes from meteors which are used to calculate wind speeds at heights of around 100km.
Signals scattered from the sea are also detected and methods of deducing the sea-state from these signals are being developed.
Results from the operation of TIGER include greater knowledge of space physics and space weather processes which is required to improve management of radio communications and navigation systems such as GPS. It also has relevance to satellite operations and magnetic surveying for minerals and electricity supplies.
When the sun's corona ejects huge amounts of matter that reach the Earth, there are rapid changes in the wind speed and temperature in the ionosphere as well as the magnetosphere - that region where the Earth's magnetic field interacts with the solar wind.
Auroras are caused by electrons striking molecules and atoms after entering the Earth's atmosphere near the poles. (image left: salatshots.com)
The location of aurora can move 500 km in less than a minute during magnetic storms and can disrupt communication and navigation systems. TIGER monitors such storms and can provide real-time data on space weather storms.
TIGER is controlled remotely from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. It uses HF radio waves in the 8 - 20 MHz range. It consumes only 2 kW of power, the same as some electric kettles and transmits an average of 200W - the same as two bright light globes.
TIGER - Bruny Radar
In developing the Tasman International Geospace Environment Radar (TIGER) the aim has been to extend the SuperDARN network in the Southern Hemisphere, but with the important difference of extending coverage to the sub-auroral region.
This provides opportunity to observe new phenomena and to improve the coverage of auroral phenomena during magnetic storms when the aurora expands equatorward of the footprints of the other radars in the SuperDARN network.
Since the radar is much closer to the south magnetic pole than the south geographic pole, this makes it an ideal location from which to monitor the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetic field.
Its more northerly location relative to the other Antarctic radars also allows it to better monitor events that move northwards during magnetic storms and out of the view of the Antarctic based radars.
The TIGER - Bruny radar is directly across the magnetic pole from PACE, the British Antarctic Survey's SuperDARN radar at Halley, Antarctica. The TIGER - PACE will form a unique radar pair providing important simultaneous measurements of the aurora in the noon and midnight sectors.
The TIGER - Bruny radar is based on the exisiting third generation HF radar constructed by the University of Leicester, including improvements to the transmitters, power supplies and microcontrollers.
This radar is a Mono system, transmitting one set of frequences at a time where as it's counterpart TIGER - Unwin is a Stereo Radar and transmits two frequencies concurrently at one time.
All SuperDARN radars use common basic operating software which can readily be adapted by each radar group for special operations or new modes which may later be adopted by the entire radar network.
TIGER - Unwin Radar
The Unwin Radar footprint covers the lower latitude portion of the auroral oval and the ionospheric trough.
The New Zealand component, located on the South Island of New Zealand near the city of Invercargill, began operation in November 2004.
The TIGER - Unwin radar is based on the exisiting third generation HF radar constructed by the University of Leicester, including improvements to the transmitters, power supplies and microcontrollers.
This radar is a Stereo system, thereby transmitting two different set of frequencies simultaneously at one time.
Where as it's counterpart TIGER - Bruny is a Mono system and transmits one set of frequencies at a one time.
Unwin is only one of three stereo radars to be operated in the SuperDARN community and the only HF Stereo radar to be operating in the southern hemisphere.