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An Advanced Low-band VHF Radar and Radio Observatory for Atmospheric, Space, Planetary, Solar, and Astronomical Research

Presentation #124.01 in the session High-Energy Solar Investigations Through Next-Generation Remote Sensing: Spectroscopy, Imaging, and Beyond — Poster Session.

Published onOct 20, 2022
An Advanced Low-band VHF Radar and Radio Observatory for Atmospheric, Space, Planetary, Solar, and Astronomical Research

The construction of a low-band VHF radar observatory — for research spanning the solar corona and solar wind; the moon, the planets, asteroids, and meteors; and the magnetosphere, ionosphere and neutral atmosphere — has been a decades-long dream of space scientists. Studies of exoplanets, interplanetary scintillation, and other passive radio astronomical observations would also be possible.

Over the years our awareness of what might be gained by such an observatory has increased, and the techniques that can be used have dramatically improved, making this an opportune time for the design and construction of a powerful and capable modern radar observatory.

Possibilities for solar radar observations will be presented as an example of the potential of the proposed system for achieving selected science goals. Solar radar will be a game changer for solar physics research and space weather prediction and monitoring, including early warning of earth-directed coronal mass ejections. Space weather is a critical factor in communication, navigation, power distribution, and for both manned and unmanned aircraft and spacecraft.

At the recent Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey workshop, a low-band VHF radar was proposed for the subauroral region, in part as the beginning of a modern replacement for the previous chain of North and South American incoherent scatter radar observatories. Before the collapse of the Arecibo instrument platform in December 2020, the Arecibo Observatory was a part of the American radar chain and the 60W/120E great circle initiative. The potential incorporation of a low-band VHF radar together with a renewed Arecibo Observatory could be a benefit to Arecibo and the radar chain, and to atmospheric, geospace, and heliospheric science.

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