SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network)

Information

The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is an international collaborative network of HF radars that monitors ionospheric plasma convection over the majority of the northern and southern polar regions. SuperDARN currently is comprised of 13 radars in the northern hemisphere and 7 radars in the southern hemisphere.

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Dr. George Sofko
    george.sofko@phys.ualberta.ca

Radar

The radar network's vast coverage extends longitudinally over more than 18 hours of local time in the northern hemisphere, and latitudinally from equatorward of the auroral electrojet to well into the polar cap, thus sampling the ionospheric footprint of many magnetospheric regions.

Each SuperDARN radar has a very large field of view, covering approximately four million square kilometers. A complete radar scan is performed in one or two minutes in the common modes of operation, leading to data with time resolution good enough to improve the understanding of the dynamics of ionospheric and magnetospheric convection.

Each radar is comprised of 16 log periodic antennas which operate in the 8-20 MHz frequency band. In the normal common program mode 16 beam azimuths are scanned successively with a total scan time of either 1 or 2 min. The beams which are numbered 0-15 from westernmost to easternmost have an angular separation of 3.24 degrees with a total azimuthal field of view of 52 degrees. For each beam the backscattered power, Doppler velocity and spectral width are recorded at 75 range gates with a resolution of 45 km per gate.

During discretionary or special time modes the radars operate independently in different operating modes and the order of the beam scans and the resolution in time and space may be varied. Some radars are now capable of operating in a stereo mode which allows the radar to run two different experimental modes simultaneously.

Canada operates Rankin Inlet, Prince George and Saskatoon radars through CGSM program.