This exciting research campaign, which begins November 11, will be conducted by a team of scientists from prestigious institutions such as the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Cornell University, the University of Colorado Denver, the University of Florida and Georgia Tech. The experiments will focus on the ionosphere, the region of the atmosphere between 30 and 350 miles above the Earth’s surface.
One of the main objectives of this research campaign is to study the ionospheric mechanisms that cause optical emission. Scientists are particularly interested in studying how some plasma waves can amplify other very low-frequency waves. They will also study how satellites can use plasma waves in the ionosphere to detect and avoid collisions.
The HAARP ionospheric survey instrument, consisting of a phased array of 180 high-frequency antennas spread over 33 acres, will play a critical role in creating artificial airglow.
By exciting electrons in the Earth’s ionosphere with high-frequency radio transmissions, similar to how solar energy creates natural aurora, HAARP can generate pulses of airglow. The installation is capable of emitting a power of 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.
The airglow created by HAARP will be visible up to 300 miles from the installation in Gakona, Alaska. It may appear as a faint red or green spot on the sky, and due to the way the human eye works, it is more visible when viewed from the side. The viewing angle for observers will depend on the distance to HAARP.
In order to observe the glow, you must be at a certain distance from HAARP, as evidenced by the approximate elevation angle versus distance provided by the installation.
The signal transmission frequencies used by HAARP will vary from 2.8 to 10 megahertz, and the actual days and times of signal transmission will depend on real-time ionospheric and/or geomagnetic conditions.
The US National Science Foundation recently awarded the UAF Geophysical Institute a $9.3 million grant to build the Subauroral Geophysical Observatory at HAARP. The purpose of this observatory is to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere and geocosmic environment.
The grant has supported various research campaigns, including an upcoming airglow experiment. In addition, a HAARP grant supported the Polar Aeronomy and Radio Engineering Summer School, which was attended by more than 50 researchers in August.
HAARP, originally developed and owned by the Air Force, transferred its research instruments to the UAF in 2015. Under an agreement with the Air Force, UAF now operates the facility and continues to push the boundaries of ionospheric research.
Additional information about the research campaign will be available on the HAARP website.