Friday, 7 October 2016

PhD Thesis: Proxies for long-term cosmic ray variability

Today, M.Sc. Stepan Poluianov defends his doctoral thesis "Proxies for long-term cosmic ray variability" at 12:00 at the main Linnanmaa campus of the University of Oulu. Stepan Poluianov has used Oulu Neutron Monitor data of SGO under the supervision of Prof. Ilya Usoskin of SGO, who also serves as the Kustos (i.e. Chairman) of the defence ceremony. 

Congratulations from all of us at SGO!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Tenure Track Position in Radio Science

Tenure Track Position in Radio Science at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

The University of Oulu is an international research and innovation university engaged in multidisciplinary basic research and academic education. The University of Oulu is one of the largest universities in Finland with 14,000 students and 3,000 employees. The University encompasses ten fields of study: Architecture, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Humanities, Education, Economics and Business, Science, Medicine and Dentistry, Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Technology and Mining. The University of Oulu researchers contribute to solving global challenges by combining multidisciplinary approaches, high level research and fruitful collaborations in the following five focus areas: 1. Creating sustainability through materials and systems, 2. Molecular and environmental basis for lifelong health, 3. Digital solutions in sensing and interactions, 4. Earth and near-space system and environmental change, 5. Understanding humans in change. Collaboration across scientific fields is strongly encouraged ad supported within the University. More information

The following job is open at the University of Oulu:

Tenure Track Position in Radio Science at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

Field and Location: 
For strengthening its profile at international level the University of Oulu announces a tenure-track opening for researchers in Radio Science.

Tenure track positions can be allocated to the career levels of the assistant professor, associate professor, full professor and distinguished professor. The positions are designed to promoting the careers of outstanding researchers and giving them the opportunity to gain further scientific qualifications in view of an academic career. The researchers appointed to a tenure track position may advance in their career through the tenure track process and be appointed to a permanent position as a professor or a distinguished professor. When recruiting for the positions, outstanding or world-class scientific quality is set as a requirement, and this must be verified via evaluations from high-level international researchers.

The position is placed at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO,, a separate institute of the university located at Tähtelä, near the village of Sodankylä 350 km north of the main campus of the university. SGO carries out, as a national task of the university, geophysical measurements, development of measurement methods and empirical as well as theoretical research of both solid Earth geophysics and geospace environment. The long-term continuous observations cover measurements of Earth’s geomagnetic field, ionosphere, northern lights, cosmic radiation and seismic activity. An important activity is the development of measurement techniques and methods as well as theoretical modelling in the research fields. The research activities are based on international collaborations with more than 200 institutes worldwide. Scientists of SGO participate in 2 Centres of Excellence (CoE) financed by Academy of Finland, CoE in Mathematical Inverse Problems and CoE in Space Climate. SGO participates in EU projects and 2 European large scale research infrastructure (ESFRI) projects, EPOS and EISCAT_3D, coordinating the Finnish participation in the latter one. SGO carries out development of radio scientific instrumentation in its Radio Science laboratory, where currently several SGO’s measurement networks, such as the SGO riometer and satellite tomography are being renewed to latest software-radio based technology. The Observatory’s duties do not include regular teaching, but leading scientists are expected to supervise PhD students in the university’s research teams. The Observatory employs currently 30 persons.

The tenure-track position in Radio Science is directed towards development of Phased-Array Radio techniques, measurement methods and related science applications in preparation to the use of the forthcoming next-generation incoherent scatter radar facility, EISCAT_3D. Currently available main instrumentation consists of the EISCAT incoherent scatter radars in Northern Fenno-Scandinavia and Svalbard (, and most importantly Finland’s largest radio telescope, the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array KAIRA. KAIRA is operated by SGO and located in northernmost Finland at Kilpisjärvi near the border of Norway at Kilpisjärvi. Active collaboration using other similar instrumentation, such as the LOFAR system, especially in applications related to space weather, is expected.

The position will start as tenure track from 1st March 2017, or later according to mutual agreement with the successful applicant. The researchers appointed to a tenure track position may advance in their career through the tenure track process and be appointed to a permanent position as a professor or a distinguished professor. After the start of the position we anticipate new financing to be in place both to continue and strengthen the research activity, when EISCAT_3D will be available for measurements.

The tenure track position is open to highly talented individuals who hold a doctoral degree and have excellent potential for a successful scientific career. Based on the experience and competence, the successful applicant of this call will be placed at the level of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Full Professor or Distinguished Professor of the four-level tenure track system.

This position will be supported by a 2-year postdoc position directed to the same topic, to be opened in 2018 in SGO. Moreover, as part of our profiling measures, we will open another call in 2017 for a tenure position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the main campus in Oulu, for strengthening research on the geospace environment linked to the now open EISCAT_3D-related positions.

Job Responsibilities and Required Qualifications: A person at any level of the academic tenure track system is expected to conduct outstanding world-class scientific research, to be competitive in attracting external funding, to publish in leading journals and conferences, to supervise SGO’s PhD students, to be an active member of the international scientific community, and to exhibit academic leadership. The job responsibilities also include the coordination of SGO’s KAIRA facility operations.

Required qualifications and career advancement at each level of the tenure track:
Career advancement on the tenure track is based on performance assessments that measure the candidate’s merits.

Assistant Professor: The position of an assistant professor is for persons who have recently (less than ten years ago) finished their doctoral dissertation and are advancing towards a professional research career. The duration of the period is four years. The advancement assistant professor – associate professor – professor – distinguished professor is described in the University of Oulu Tenure Track guidelines:

The selection criteria for an assistant professor are the following:
  • research potential and merit applicable to the position to date (publications, especially internationally refereed publications; participating in acquiring external funding/funding granted; connections with the international community in the field)
  • in most fields, having experience of working abroad is common during the professional research career
  • demonstrable development of skills is the prerequisite for a continuation period.
Associate Professor: The position of an associate professor is initially a fixed-term position for five years, but a continuation period may be granted or the position may be made permanent. Being granted continuation for the position requires meeting the below-mentioned criteria as well as successful research work as indicated in the University of Oulu Tenure Track guidelines.
When appointing a person to the position of an associate professor the applicants are evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • publications on an international level: dissemination, quality of the publication forums, references to the publications
  • active role in the research training
  • acquisition of external funding
  • working in more than one research facility during one’s career (in most fields represented at the University of Oulu this signifies working abroad)
  • an active role in the international scientific community
  • acknowledgements and awards.
Full Professor: The position of a Full Professor requires a doctoral degree, high-level scientific or artistic competence, experience in leading scientific research, ability to provide high-level research-based teaching and to supervise final theses, and merit in international co-operation projects in his/her field of expertise. The position of a professor also requires the ability to act as an academic leader. When evaluating the merits of an applicant, his/her scientific publications and other research results with scientific or artistic value, teaching experience and pedagogic training, ability to produce teaching material, other merits as a teacher, teaching demonstrations and supervised doctoral theses shall be taken into consideration. Other factors to be taken into consideration are the active role of the applicant in the scientific community, practical experience in the field where applicable, success in acquiring supplementary research funding, scientific work abroad, international positions, and leadership and interaction skills.

Distinguished Professor: The position of a Distinguished Professor is for especially distinguished applicants who exceed the criteria for Full Professor.

Salary: The salary of the appointed researcher will be based on the demand level chart for the teaching and research staff of Finnish Universities. In addition to the basic salary of the appropriate tenure track level, supplementary salary will be given for personal achievement and performance, the sum rising to a maximum of 46.3 % of the basic salary level for the post. The salary thus being roughly 3,500 – 4,700 €/month for an assistant professor, 4,100 - 5,400 €/month for an associate professor and 5600 - 8300 euros per month for a full professor.

Other benefits: Finland is one of the most liveable countries, with a high quality of life, safety, excellent education system, and competitive economy. The successful candidate will receive full benefits provided by the University of Oulu to university employees, including free time corresponding to holidays and free occupational health care services. The successful candidate will receive also benefits provided by the Finnish government to residents, for example possibility to obtain access to the national healthcare system, tax benefits for employees with children and high-quality affordable childcare services.

Applications: Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted electronically by 11.11.2016.

The application should be written in English and the following information needs to be included:
  1. an application letter with contact information
  2. a curriculum vitae following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (tutkimuseettinen neuvottelukunta). The guidelines are available at and a template at
  3. list of publications, ten most important ones marked
  4. a brief account of research merits (max 1 page)
  5. a brief account of teaching merits or a teaching portfolio (max 2 pages)
  6. acquisition of research funds
  7. a brief research and action plan (max 3 pages)
  8. contact details of 2–4 persons available for recommendation.

Evaluators: The selection procedure will be carried out by an Appointment Committee according to the University of Oulu Tenure Track guidelines.

Contact details: In order to receive the information and announcements concerning the official selection procedures to be followed in order to fill this post, applicants must inform SGO of their contact details for the whole duration of the selection process: they must specifically provide both their home and work telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, fax numbers and postal addresses.
For further information and enquiries about this post, and about the application and selection procedures, please contact:
Director Esa Turunen, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of OuluTähteläntie 62, FI-99600 Sodankyläphone: +358505663264email: esa.turunen -at-

Friday, 30 September 2016

Follow SGO's Live-Stream tonight!

As part of the European Researchers' Night, the Observatory organises an event tonight, starting at 19:15 Finnish time (UT+3). The programme starts with a lecture on the aurora borealis given by Esa Turunen, director of SGO, followed by a live monitoring of our instruments to discuss about space weather.

The whole event can be followed remotely via the following link:
NB: One may need to install the Adobe Connect add-on (free).

Link to the official programme (including the Open House this afternoon).

See you tonight, then!

A good example of what we will unfortunately not be able to see tonight, due to weather conditions!
Picture taken in Sodankylä on 24 April 2016 by M. Grandin

Monday, 26 September 2016

Open House and Researchers' Night at Tähtelä!

OPEN HOUSE - programme 

Location: Tähtelä, Tähteläntie 62, 99600 Sodankylä. Guidance on-site.

14:00h Open House at Tähtelä: guidance for parking and to Sounding Station, come in good time!
14:15h See the launch of the weather balloon. Balloon leaves at 14:30h. Additional balloon launch from FMI's Sounding Station from 17:30h. Launch 17:45h.
14:30h – 19:00h Introduction to Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) and Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) activities at different locations. Presentations last max 30 min. Locations are distributed all over Tähtelä, over a distance of about 700m.

Tähtelä Open House Program (Note: changes to programme on short notice possible)

Polaria main building, Tähteläntie 62
14:45 Revontulet -short lecture in Finnish (slides in English)
15:15 SGO:n yleisesittely -in Finnish (slides in English)
15:45 IL:n yleisesittely -in Finnish
16:15 Seismologian tutkimus SGO:lla -in Finnish
16:45 IL:n yleisesittely -in Finnish
17:15 Overview of SGO -in English
18:00 SGO:n yleisesittely -in Finnish (slides in English)

The Researchers' Night begins with a lecture about the Northern Lights by Director Esa Turunen (Live-Stream) 19:15h - 20:00h (in Finnish). After the lecture we will follow the space weather situation live with real-time updates. If there are northern lights, or at least if there are no clouds, we will have a look at the night sky. Otherwise we will follow updates through live streams from SGO's instruments as well as satellite and other international observation. (Finnish and English).

Introduction to the EISCAT-site from 15:15h. Last presentation begins at 18:15h.

FMI Balloon Soundings
See the launch of the weather balloon. Balloon leaves at 14:30h. General presentations begin at 14:45h. Additional balloon launch from FMI's Sounding Station from 17:30h. Launch 17:45h. After that the last presentation of the station.

FMI Satellite Receiver Station
First presentation at 15:15h. Last presentation begins at 18:30h.
Presentation video: (in Finnish)

parking: Tähteläntie 112 and Tähteläntie 120.

SGO library and office building
Presentations about geomagnetism and seismology from 14:45h. The last presentations begins at 18:15h. Presentations about the ionospheric vertical sounding (ionosonde) at 16:00h and at 16:30h.

SGO Laboratory
First presentation at 15:15h. Last presentation begins at 18:15h.

Restaurant Niesta and Tähtiherra Hall
In the Tähtiherra Hall you can see a video about Finland's largest radio telescope, which is situated in Kilpisjärvi (Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array (KAIRA); in English with Finnish subtitles.

We will offer free coffee and cake to the first 200 visitors from 15:00h at the Restaurant Niesta.
In front of Niesta, the Kaaretkosken catering services will offer sausage-potato-hash for 5€/portion.


Avoimet ovet ja Tutkijoiden yö Tähtelässä!

AVOIMET OVET - ohjelma 

Tapahtumapaikka: Tähtelä, Tähteläntie 62, 99600 Sodankylä. Opastus paikan päällä.

klo 14:00 Avoimet ovet Tähtelässä: opastus paikoitukseen ja luotaamolle, saavu ajoissa!
klo 14:15 säähavaintopallon lähdön seuraaminen IL:n luotaamolla. Pallo lähtee klo 14:30. Ylimääräinen säähavaintopallon lähetys IL:n luotaamolla klo 17:30 alkaen. Pallo lähtee klo 17:45.
klo 14:30 - 19:00  Sodankylän geofysiikan observatorion (SGO) ja Ilmatieteen laitoksen (IL) toiminnan esittely tapahtuu eri toimipisteissä. Esittelyt kestävät noin 30 minuuttia. Toimipisteet jakautuvat Tähtelän eteläpäähän ja pohjoispäähän, joiden väli on noin 700m.

Huom! Ohjelma- ja aikataulumuutokset mahdollisia.

Polaria päärakennus, Tähteläntie 62
14:45 Revontulet -lyhyt luento
15:15 SGO:n yleisesittely suomeksi
15:45 IL:n yleisesittely suomeksi
16:15 Seismologian tutkimus SGO:lla
16:45 IL:n yleisesittely suomeksi
17:15 Overview of SGO (in English). SGO:n yleisesittely englanniksi.
18:00 SGO:n yleisesittely suomeksi

19:00-22:00 TUTKIJOIDEN YÖ
Tutkijoiden Yö käynnistyy Dos. Esa Turusen revontuliluennolla (Live-Stream) 19:15-20:00
Luennon jälkeen avaruussäätilanteen live-seuranta ja päivitykset; revontulten esiintyessä live-kuvaa klo 20:30 alkaen, muuten seurataan mittauslaitteiden aineistoa livenä.

EISCAT-aseman esittelykierrokset klo 15:15 alkaen. Viimeinen esittely alkaa 18:15

IL luotaamo
klo 14:15 säähavaintopallon lähdön seuraaminen IL:n luotaamolla. Pallo lähtee klo 14:30.
Esittelykierrokset klo 14:45 alkaen. Ylimääräisen säähavaintopallon lähdön seuraaminen IL:n luotaamolla klo 17:30. Pallo lähtee klo 17:45, jonka jälkeen viimeinen esittelykierros.

IL Satelliittivastaanottoasema
Ensimmäinen esittelykierros klo 15:15. Viimeinen kierros alkaa klo 18:30.

paikoitus: Tähteläntie 112 ja Tähteläntie 120

SGO:n kirjasto ja toimistorakennus
Geomagnetismin ja seismologian esittelyt klo 14:45 alkaen. Viimeinen esittely alkaa klo 18:15
Ionosondin esittely klo 16:00 ja 16:30

SGO:n tekninen laboratorio
Ensimmäinen esittelykierros klo 15:15. Viimeinen esittelykierros alkaa klo 18:15

Ravintola Niesta ja Tähtiherrain sali
Tähtiherrainsalissa Kilpisjärvellä sijaitsevan KAIRA-aseman esittelyvideo. Tekstitetty suomeksi.
Kakkukahvit 200 ensimmäiselle klo 15 alkaen ravintola Niestassa.
Ravintola Niestan edustalla Kaaretkosken Edustus- ja juhlapalvelun Maitolaiturista pyttipannua 5€/annos.


Fixed/Korjattu: SGO network down again / SGO:n verkkoyhteys taas poikki

We are not very lucky this autumn – SGO's fibre connection is broken between Tervola and Rovaniemi in southern Lapland, the same problem as earlier. Duration unknown.

Onneton verkkoyhteys tänä syksynä – SGO:n kuituyhteys on poikki Tervolan ja Rovaniemen välillä, sama ongelma kuin aiemmin. Katkon kesto: ei tiedossa.

The network is back, fixed about 21:21h.

Verkko toimii taas, korjattu n. klo 21:21.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Calibration of the All-Sky Cameras

As nights are getting dark enough to observe the northern light, it is time to perform the yearly absolute calibration of the cameras and imagers which monitor the aurora. This week, scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, EISCAT, the University of Southampton and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) are calibrating their instruments in Tähtelä.

Four all-sky imagers are being calibrated: two ICCDs (Sodankylä and Longyearbyen) and two EMCCDs (Kilpisjärvi and Abisko). The calibration of each instrument takes a couple of hours. It consists in measuring the response curve of the sensor to a known source of light obtained from three lamps illuminating an integrating sphere. The purpose is to be able to convert the number of counts received in each pixel of the sensor into photon flux in rayleigh (1 R = 795,774,716

Integrating sphere used to produce the calibrating light source.
Photo: M. Grandin

Since the instruments measure the auroral emission in three wave lenghts (427.8 nm "blue", 557.7 nm "green" and 630.0 nm "red"), the calibration must be done for each of these three channels. In practice, the green and red channels are calibrated during a same procedure, and the blue channel calibration takes place separately. The whole calibration procedure is of course done in a dark room and is controlled remotely.

The Sodankylä ICCD imager set up for calibration.
Photo: M. Grandin
May this auroral season be rich in substorms with clear-sky conditions!