Tuesday 20 December 2016

ERG/Epsilon-2 Launch Live Broadcast starts today!

Launch window of the Japanese ERG-satellite on-board the Epsilon-2 rocket will be opened today at 10:40 UTC (= 12:40 Finnish time).  Follow the potential launch online HERE!

Copyright: ERG project
Science objective of the ERG mission is to study acceleration and loss mechanisms of relativistic electrons around Earth during geospace storms.

SGO supports the mission by its ground-based measurement networks and collaborates closely with Nagoya University in interpretation of the satellite measurements by means of atmospheric modelling.

Recent joint study by Turunen et al., 2016 suggests that the so-called pulsating aurorae may associate energetic electron precipitation that is capable of remarkable ozone destruction in the mesosphere. By means of the ERG datasets, combined with the ground-based observations, we wish to study more closely this potentially important space weather influence on the upper atmosphere.

ERG/Epsilon-2 laukaisu tänään 20.12. klo 13

JAXA, (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) laukaisee ERG-tutkimussatelliitin 20.12.2016. Live-streamia laukaisusta voi seurata osoitteessa:


ERG-satelliitti tutkii Maan säteilyvyöhykkeiden suurienergisiä hiukkasia ja niiden käyttäytymistä magneettisten myrskyjen aikana. SGO:n, Ilmatieteen laitoksen ja Nagoyan yliopiston tutkijoiden yhteistyössä selvitetään sykkivien revontulien syntymekanismeja ja mitataan suurienergisen hiukkassateen aiheuttamaa pakotetta ilmakehään. Nagoyan yliopisto ja SGO ovat sijoittaneet Sodankylään uuden 100 kuvaa sekunnissa kuvaavan  revontulikameran tutkimuksia varten.

ERG-mission tieteellinen kuvaus löytyy täältä: https://ergsc.isee.nagoya-u.ac.jp/

Oulun yliopiston tiedote: ERG-satelliitti selvittämään magneettimyrskyjen vaikutusta otsoniin

Tiedetuubissa: Video: Japani lähetti avaruuteen revontulivakoojan 

Sykkivät revontulet tuhoavat yläilmakehän otsonia. Uusin tutkimustulos aiheesta löytyy täältä:


Launched right on time – congratulations to our Japanese colleagues

Screen shot from JAXA's live stream. Watch again here.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

PhD Candidate in Radio Science and Ionospheric Physics

PhD Candidate in Radio Science and Ionospheric Physics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Faculty of Science and Technology, has a PhD student position vacant for applicants who wish to obtain the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD). The appointment is for a period of four years.

The successful candidate will participate in the development and use of novel high power large aperture radar observational techniques in combination with other relevant instruments, with the goal of advancing the state of knowledge of ionospheric phenomena. Examples of potential topics of research include: ionospheric modification, characterisation of auroral energetic particle precipitation, and magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. The final scope of the thesis project will be determined based on the background and interests of the candidate.

The position is attached to the Space Physics group at the Department of Physics and Technology, which is located on the Tromsø campus of UiT. The Space Physics group has a long tradition in using the radar instruments of the EISCAT Scientific Association in Northern Scandinavia and plays an important role in preparing for the new advanced atmospheric radar facility EISCAT_3D. Scientists in the group also conduct research on topics including: auroral ionosphere, ionospheric modification, space weather, laboratory plasmas, space debris, planetary radar, dusty plasma in the mesosphere, and long-term trends in the ionosphere. The Space Physics group consists of eight faculty members and six PhD students. The group will be expanded by four PhD students and one postdoctoral scientist during the next year.

Further information about the position and project details is available by contacting:

Associate Professor Juha Vierinen, email juha-pekka.vierinen -at- uit.no or tel. +47 981 72 827.

Please read also the full announcement of this vacancy.

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Monday 7 November 2016

EISCAT Peer-Review Programme: Call for Proposals

The EISCAT Scientific Association invites applications for observing time on the EISCAT facilities in 2017, by individual scientists, research groups, and consortia throughout the world on equal, competitive basis. This means that anyone can apply, independent of whether or not the applicant is from an EISCAT associate country.

While evaluations are merit based, in the case of two applications having similar merits in evaluation, preference will be given either to those applicants who are new to the EISCAT facilities, in order to enlarge the EISCAT user community and further more open access to the facilities, or to the applicant showing stronger educational impact in their proposal.

The present call is the first one for 2017. In total, 200 hours of experiment time are open for international, peer-reviewed competition, and are available for the use of any of the current EISCAT facilities. Roughly half of this time has been allocated in the first call.

Please refer to the details of the call at http://www.eiscat.se/PeerReviewProgram/eiscatppexp for more information.

The deadline for proposals is 21st November 2016 at 24:00 UTC.

Text: EISCAT; photo: Th.Ulich.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Study of TEC Fluctuation via Stochastic Models and Bayesian Inversion

Our study on GPS total electron content modelling has been published in Radio Science:

Bires, A.L. RoininenB. D. YeshitaM. Nigussie, and H. Vanhamäki (2016), Study of TEC Fluctuation via Stochastic Models and Bayesian InversionRadio Sci.51, doi:10.1002/2016RS005959.

Study of TEC Fluctuation via Stochastic Models and Bayesian Inversion

We propose stochastic processes to be used to model the total electron content (TEC) observation. Based on this, we model the Rate of change of TEC (ROT) variation during ionospheric quiet conditions with stationary processes. During ionospheric disturbed conditions, for example when irregularity in ionospheric electron density distribution occurs, stationarity assumption over long time periods is no longer valid. In these cases, we make the parameter estimation for short time scales, during which we can assume stationarity. We show the relationship between the new method and commonly used TEC characterization parameters ROT and the ROT Index (ROTI). We construct our parametric model within the framework of Bayesian statistical inverse problems and hence give the solution as an a posteriori probability distribution. Bayesian framework allows us to model measurement errors systematically. Similarly, we mitigate variation of TEC due to factors which are not of ionospheric origin, like due to the motion of satellites relative to the receiver, by incorporating a priori knowledge in the Bayesian model. In practical computations, we draw the so-called maximum a posteriori estimates, which are our ROT and ROTI estimates, from the posterior distribution. Because the algorithm allows to estimate ROTI at each observation time, the estimator does not depend on the period of time for ROTI computation. We verify the method by analyzing TEC data recorded by GPS receiver located in Ethiopia (11.6°N, 37.4°E). The results indicate that the TEC fluctuations caused by the ionospheric irregularity can be effectively detected and quantified from the estimated ROT and ROTI values.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Reply to Comment by Pätzold et al. on “Mars Express radio-occultation data: A novel analysis approach”

A paper was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics. It is a Reply to a Comment on the Grandin et al. (2014) article introducing a new method to analyse radio-occultation data for Mars Express.

The early view of this Reply can be accessed from the Wiley Online Library here.

Grandin, M., P.-L. Blelly, O. Witasse, and A. Marchaudon (2016), Reply to Comment by Pätzold et al. on “Mars Express radio-occultation data: A novel analysis approach”, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JA022229.

Below is the abstract of the Reply.
We reply to the Comment by Pätzold et al. on our paper presenting a new analysis approach for Mars Express radio-occultation data. We address each of the main comments, showing that none of them invalidates the method itself, but rather, they underline aspects which could be considered to improve the model. One major issue raised by the Comment is the computation of the frequency residual values, as our model did not take into account the change in frequency between the uplink and the downlink. This problem has been given full consideration, and the corresponding part of the model has been corrected accordingly. The dayside profile analyzed in the original article has been reanalyzed with the updated version of the model, and the results are presented, which show overall improvements.
©2016. American Geophysical Union.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

EISCAT Campaign in Tromsø

Time for the traditional Finnish autumn EISCAT campaign! Ilkka Virtanen and I have been running radar experiments since last Friday evening, from the control room of the Ramfjord site near Tromsø, Norway. This is the site where the EISCAT transmitters are located: the VHF – which may be used alongside the Sodankylä and Kiruna receivers for tri-static measurements –, the UHF, and the ionospheric heating system (among other instruments).

Four experiments from the Finnish EISCAT user community were scheduled for this campaign. A first experiment consisted in a continuous 48-hour run of the EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) during a solar wind high-speed stream. It was run in the beginning of this month, separately from the rest of the campaign. The second experiment aimed at using the UHF radar in a 3-position scanning mode to study neutral wind acceleration during auroral activity. The third experiment was supposed to use UHF, VHF, remote VHF receivers, ESR and the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array (KAIRA) to cover SWARM satellite overpasses during two nights. The fourth experiment was supposed to study the lower ionosphere during pulsating aurora, using the VHF system.

Unfortunately, as this is often the case, reality reserves some surprises. In our case, these were not particularly good ones, since the KAIRA clock experiences some time drift, probably because its rubidium atomic clock needs to be replaced. Just to make sure that we have no regrets about it, the VHF is also down due to problems with a coaxial cable. As a consequence, the experiments using the VHF system could not be run as planned: the SWARM experiment only used field-aligned UHF measurements and ESR, and the pulsating aurora experiment had to be totally cancelled.

As a form of compensation, we have been granted exceptional weather here in Tromsø – while on the Finnish side of the border, thick clouds offer an uninterrupted display of medium-grey and dark-grey. And at night, the aurora gave us several nice displays during the previous nights. Some form of compensation, indeed.

The UHF radar, the aurora, and a mysterious beam of light.
Photo: M. Grandin

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 http://www.oulu.fi/english/.

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, http://www.sgo.fi), 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 (http://www.eiscat.se), 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: http://www.oulu.fi/university/node/38379.

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. Please apply for the job using the link at the bottom of the official announcement.

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 http://www.tenk.fi/en/template-researchers-curriculum-vitae and a template at http://www.tenk.fi/sites/tenk.fi/files/CV_english_270613.pdf.
  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 Oulu, Tähteläntie 62, FI-99600 Sodankylä, phone: +358505663264, e-mail: esa.turunen -at- sgo.fi
Please apply for the job using the link at the bottom of the official announcement.

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: https://connect.funet.fi/SGOlive/.
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNG6mVhVyns (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 photons.m-2.s-1.sr-1).

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!

Thursday 8 September 2016

Fixed/korjattu – SGO cut off internet / SGO:n internetyhteys poikki

Since Wednesday, 7th September, 13:30, SGO is not reachable by internet, which affects the web and data services as well as SGO e-mails. The reason is a broken fibre-optical cable between Rovaniemi and Tervola. Wo do not – at this moment – know when it will be fixed. Work is in progress.

Problem was solved at 12:50 local time today (8th September).

Keskiviikkona, 7.9. klo 13:30, SGO:n internetyhteys meni poikki. Sen seurauksena webbi-, data- ja sähköpostipalvelut eivät toimi. Syy on, että FUNET:n kuitukaapeli meni poikki Rovaniemen ja Tervolan välissä. Katkon kestosta emme tiede, korjaus on kesken.

Vika korjattu tänään, 8.9., klo 12:50.

Linkki: FUNET:n häiriötiedotteet.

Saturday 3 September 2016

Sodankylässä uusi opetussuunnitelma tulee tutuksi kolmen kunnan yhteisellä veso-koulutuspäivällä

Sodankylän keskustassa ja geofysiikan observatoriolla kisaa 120 opettajaa kolmesta kunnasta Ällistyttävässä Rallissa joukkueina leikkimielisesti toisiaan vastaan lauantaina 3.9.2016. Päivään osallistuvat Pelkosenniemen, Savukosken ja Sodankylän opettajat.

Kisailun tavoitteena on oppia uuden opetussuunnitelman edellyttämiä taitoja
Ällistyttävässä Rallissa on niitä elementtejä, joita oppimiseen halutaan tuoda: tietotekniikan käyttö, monialaiset oppimiskokonaisuudet, ilmiöpohjainen oppiminen, toiminnallisuus ja yhteistyö koulun ulkopuolisten tahojen kanssa. Mukana järjestelyissä ovat Sodankylän kunnan lisäksi Sodankylän Geofysikan Observatorio, Simonen Oy ja IlonaIT.

"Raskaan ops-prosessin jälkeen oli syytä tarkastella uudestaan myös opettajien veso-koulutuksia. Haluamme järjestää veso-päivän, joka olisi samalla innostava ja virkistävä. Jos tavoitteenamme on, että opettajat kannustavat oppilaita aktiiviseen,  itsenäiseen oppimiseen, miksi emme opettajien vesoissa toteuttaisi samaa periaatetta?" toteaa Sodankylän kunnan sivistystoimenjohtaja Risto Varis.

Apuna Seppo.io -mobiilipelijärjestelmä

Sodankylän vesossa opettajat suunnistavat joukkueina hyödyntämällä mobiilioppimisen työvälineitä sekä Suomessa kehitettyä Seppo.io-mobiilipelijärjestelmää, joka mahdollistaa tehtävien ratkaisun valokuvina, videoina, äänenä tai tekstinä. Peliin on yhdistetty myös muita, jokaisen kännykästä löytyviä hyötysovelluksia.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Northern Lights Season has started!

The photo above was captured last night (24th August 2016, at 21:00 UTC (00:00 EEST) by one of the time-lapse cameras we operate jointly with Site-Eye Ltd, UK. The night sky is still too bright at the latitude of Sodankylä to get good contrast, but the season has definitely started. The scientific auroral all-sky camera will return in the near future for real-time monitoring. In the meantime, the time-lapse camera can be used for a look to the north from Sodankylä.

Photo: Site-Eye/SGO, text: Thomas Ulich.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Absoluuttigravimetrausta Pittiövaarassa

SGO:n omien mittausten lisäksi observatorion tiloissa toimii myös useiden yhteistyökumppaneiden mittalaitteita. Eräs kotimaisista yhteistyökumppaneista on Maanmittauslaitoksen Paikkatietokeskus (ent. Geodeettinen laitos). SGO:n mittausasemalla sijaitsee GNSS-vastaanottimet, jotka ovat osa kansallista ja kansainvälistä referenssiverkkoa. Laitteet rekisteröivät niin GPS, GLONASS-satelliittit kuin myös uudemmatkin GNSS-järjestelmät, viimeisimpänä kiinalaisten Beidou järjestelmän satelliitteja (suom. Otava).

GNSS-vastaanottimien lisäksi asemalla on absoluuttigravimetripiste, jolla 2-3 vuoden välein tehdään paikalle tuotavalla absoluuttigravimetrillä muutaman päivän havaintosarja, jossa toistuvasti mitataan tyhjiössä pudotettavan prismakappaleen putoamisaikaa, joista huipputarkan kellojärjestelmän, sekä laserilla saatavalla tarkan matkan avulla voidaan laskea absoluuttinen putoamiskiihtyvyys muutaman mikrogalin tarkkuudella. Pitemmällä havaintosarjalla saadaan muun muassa muiden taivaankappaleiden vetovoimien aiheuttamat muutokset painovoimaan mallinnettua pois tuloksista.

Tutkimuspäällikkö Jyri Näränen Maanmittauslaitoksen Paikkatietokeskuksen Geodesian ja Geodynamiikan yksiköstä esitteli absoluuttigravimetrimittausta  SGO:n henkilökunnalle varsinaisen havaintosarjan teon jälkeen. Edessä absoluuttigravimetri, jonka yläosassa prisman pudotuskammi ja alaosassa kulkuajan mittaamiseen käytetty interferometri.

Painovoiman muutos on seurausta maan kohoamisesta jääkauden jälkeen. Sodankylässä maankuori kohoaa noin 5mm vuodessa, jolloin havaintopisteen etäisyys Maan keskipisteestä kasvaa. Samalla kuitenkin tiheämpää ylävaipan materiaalia virtaa tilalle. Muita havaintoihin vaikuttavia tekijöitä on mm. pohjaveden pinnan taso, joka täytyy havainnoissa huomioida. Hitaan muutoksen vuoksi havaintoja tehdään 2-3 vuoden välein, jolloin muutokset on mittaustarkkuuden rajoissa havaittavissa.

Niin, ja se havaittu g Sodankylässä on luokkaa 9.824….. m/s2

Saturday 30 July 2016

Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Student Presentations and Conclusions

Today was the high point of our incoherent scatter radar (ISR) school, as it was the students' turn to give presentations, while lecturers would listen and ask questions. The 7 groups had half an hour each to present the results of their radar experiments, explaining their scientific motivations and experiment designs, describing the data they had obtained, and discussing on their interpretation.

The talks were really high-level ones; everybody had put a great effort into the task and played the game. Even when the initial scientific targets could not be reached – because of technical problems or too quiet ionospheric conditions – the students managed to come up with a plan B and did a great job in analysing their data sets.

Group 3 studied the polar cap convection with an ESR experiment.
Photo: M. Lavarra

Among the observed phenomena, we had beautiful polar mesospheric summer echoes, electron precipitation, polar cap convection, auroral arcs... And ISR observations were confirmed by measurements from other instruments: ionosonde, SuperDARN, GPS TEC data, satellite observations... 

After closing discussions, it was already time to say goodbye. Most participants are now on their way to Helsinki, spending the night on the train. Hopefully students and lecturers have had a great time in Sodankylä and got to know new potential future collaborators/friends. So, the ISR school is now over... until next time!

Friday 29 July 2016

Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Analysing Experiment Data

As the end of the radar school is already approaching, a greater and greater part of the programme is dedicated to group work. Yesterday, the morning lectures were essentially focusing on analysing the incoherent scatter radar (ISR) data and fitting the ISR spectrum to extract ionospheric parameters. Other lectures had a more scientific focus and showed examples of ionospheric phenomena which can be studied with ISRs. One more lecture aimed at underlining the importance of keeping a critical view on the analysed data before drawing scientific conclusions.

In the afternoon, the group work on the analysis of Tuesday night's data was continued. Most groups managed to come up with a clear plan on how to divide tasks, which features in the data to focus on, and which additional data sets to look at.

Group 5 looking for particle precipitation signatures in their data.
Photo: C. Heinselman
This all looks very promising for the presentations of Saturday morning. It seems that each group have their own scientific focus, which makes it all the more interesting. Let's see how far they manage to get by this evening!

Thursday 28 July 2016

Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Excursion in Luosto

After the experiment night, it would have been hard to attend lectures in the morning. So instead, an excursion was organised in Luosto. Students and teachers were divided into six teams and took part to a treasure hunt around the Ahvenlampi pond. With each step came a short text about a "Finnish Fun Fact", along with a related question aimed for providing a few insights on Finnish culture.

Initially, the weather was very nice, and there were only few mosquitoes. Participants came across a lot of bilberries, and several of them could even find cloudberries. The end of the treasure hunt was however somehow precipitated by the arrival of a thunderstorm with heavy rain. Coffee was served in the small laavu where the whole party just fit, before all retreated to the restaurant of the local hotel. As a souvenir, participants were all given a small amethyst stone from the Lampivaara mine – the only active one in Europe – located a few kilometres away from Ahvenlampi.

The Red team fishing a hint.
Photo: C. Heinselman

Lectures resumed in the afternoon, and students could then download the data of their experiments and started to analyse them. In the evening, the workshop banquet allowed our guests to try poronkäristys (sautéed reindeer) and cloudberry pannacotta. Those who were not completely exhausted after the experiment night and the morning treasure hunt were also given the opportunity to experience Finnish sauna at the observatory.

And we are half-way through our radar school already!

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Experiment Night

One of the highlights of the Radar School is the experiment night, which took place yesterday. The participants were divided into groups of 5 to 6 people and had to design a radar experiment to be run using EISCAT.

After the morning lectures providing students with some background on the incoherent scatter theory, pulse coding and experiment configuration, each group was asked to come up with a scientific focus related to the ionosphere (study of a particular region, feature, or process). Based on their topic of interest, they had then to discuss what kind of trade-off they could reach in order to obtain the best possible data. Which altitude and latitude do they want to observe? Is there a preferred magnetic local time for the features they are interested in? What time and range resolution do they need? Is there an optimal pointing direction or scanning pattern in their case?

Once the group agreed on the answers to those questions, they could write a proposal of experiment for either the EISCAT mainland VHF radar or the EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR), and request a 2-hour time slot between 17:30 and 01:30 local time. The proposal needed to mention which experiment code should be run, and the desired pointing direction. All those details were submitted to the lecturers, who evaluated them and notified acceptance within 10 minutes, to start with the first experiment less than 30 minutes later (as someone pointed out, this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation!).

Monitoring the polar cap convection with ESR.
Photo: E. Turunen

The experiments were run from the lecture hall of the Polaria building in SGO, by the students themselves, under the supervision of lecturers with experience as EISCAT users. The experiment time slots were intertwined with "radar walks" around Tähtelä, during which the main on-site instruments were briefly presented (and local mosquitoes were properly fed).

During one of the "radar walks" at SGO.
Photo: C. Heinselman

For the rest of the week, participants will retrieve and analyse their data. More on that in the coming days!

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Let's Get Started!

This week, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory is hosting the Incoherent Scatter Radar School jointly organised and sponsored by EISCAT/SGO and the National Science Foundation (NSF)/SRI International. A total of 39 participants coming from institutes over 13 countries (and of 20 nationalities), are taking part in this radar workshop. The summer school also involves 15 motivated lecturers and organisers from Europe and the United States.

Most participants arrived on Sunday morning, after a night on the train between Helsinki and Rovaniemi (oh yes: to make it easier, we managed to get Rovaniemi airport closed this month). As the bus was heading to Sodankylä, most of them crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time in their lives.

Once in Sodankylä, and after having a delicious lunch and settling down at the student accommodation at Lapin Ammattiopisto, those who were interested were given the opportunity to take part in a walking tour of the village. The weather was exceptional, which certainly contributed to encourage our guests to try salmiakki icecream in front of the K-supermarket. Tervetuloa Suomeen!

The EISCAT receiver in Sodankylä (a little bit hidden behind a group of people)
Photo: T. Ulich

The official programme started yesterday morning with lectures presenting Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory and introducing ionospheric physics and basics of radar theory. In the evening, a small home-made radar demonstration showed how with relatively simple electronics and computing power it is possible to measure the speed or the range of a given target.

This has been a very promising start, and there is even more to come. To be continued...

Monday 16 May 2016

April Aurorae


Recently, we reported about a new long-term time-lapse project at SGO. Today, we have received the summary video of the Northern Lights in April. The video above works best in full screen and high definition.

Also, we now have live feeds from the time-lapse cameras to SGO's web pages, which allow you to check the current weather conditions in real time. The images are updated once per minute.

As an example, here's what our river camera sees at the moment. You see both images on on their dedicated live-feed page. Enjoy!

Text: Thomas Ulich; image and film: Site-Eye Ltd.

Saturday 23 April 2016

New Time-Lapse Project at SGO

Since February 2016, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory provides the operational platform and support for a joint long-term time-lapse project in collaboration with Site-Eye Ltd., UK. Two cameras have been installed in Sodankylä, which both take a photo every minute. One of the camera looks at the sky, the other looks at the river Kitinen flowing past the Tähtelä site of SGO.

The cameras will be recording 4K time-lapse footage for the next 12 months, with monthly highlights published on-line. Above's a taste of what's to come, the time-lapse film of the sky in March 2016.

Slow Scan Photography

The so-called Slow Scan Photograph by Brian McClave of Site-Eye, summarises one night of beautiful aurora above Sodankylä. The image was taken over a period of 24 hours, at a rate of one image per minute. The Slow Scan Photograph is then composed by vertical slices of the original 1440 images. In this composite image, time progresses from left to right. The green aurora is clearly visible, mixed with some grey clouds, and there's a fantastic red dawn in the early morning.


Text: Thomas Ulich; images and film: Site-Eye Ltd.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Radar School 2016 - Extended Deadline 15.03

The deadline for submitting applications to the Incoherent Scatter Radar School jointly organised by EISCAT (Europe) and NSF (US) is extended until 15th March. The school will be held in Sodankylä from 24th to 30th July 2016.

Candidates who have not yet sent their application are invited to follow the instructions on the following webpages:
- US participants: http://www.amisr.com/workshop

For any inquiries, please contact RS2016(at)sgo.fi (EISCAT/SGO) or summerschool@esd.sri.com (US NSF).

Selected participants will be notified by 29th March 2016.

Blue and green: Sodankylä in July.
Photo: M. Grandin

Thursday 25 February 2016

Päivitettyä revontulitilastoa

Kuluva talvi 2015-2016 on ollut revontulten suhteen meneillään olevan auringon aktiivisuussyklin parhain, joskin säät eivät ole havaitsemista viime aikoina suosineet. Etenkin alkusyksystä aivan Etelä-Suomea myöten saatiin nauttia värikkäistä yötaivaista, jolloin SGO:n revontulikameralla havaittiin revontulia jopa 80% öistä. Viimeiset viikot Lappi on ollut matalapaineiden reiteillä, mitä hyvin kuvaa jo yli metrin korkuiset kinokset Keski-Lapissa, eikä aurinkokaan ole monena päivänä viime viikkoina pilkahtanut esille, saati revontulia päästy ihailemaan. Viime aikojen parhaat revontulet koettiin 16.2.2016 illalla, jotka yllä olevassa videossa SGO:n kameran tallentamana.

Revontulitilasto 2006-2016 SGO:n havainnoista. Vihreät palkit kertovat revontuliöiden osuuden jokaisena kuukautena. Valkoiset palkit osoittavat kesäajan, jolloin revontulia ei voi nähdä. Keltaiset pallot kertovat SGO:n magneettikentän havainnoista lasketun aktiivisuusindeksin kuukausikeskiarvon. (Kuva: Tero Raita, SGO)

Friday 22 January 2016

International Incoherent Scatter Radar School: Sodankylä 2016

We have the pleasure to announce the upcoming International Incoherent Scatter Radar School on 24–30 July 2016. This summer school will be held in Sodankylä, and is jointly organised by the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory and SRI International. It is sponsored by the EISCAT Scientific Association and the US National Science Foundation (NSF).

The purpose of the summer school is to provide graduate and advanced undergraduate students with a solid background on the incoherent scatter radars, from the underlying theory of incoherent scatter to the design of radar experiments and data analysis, with a strong practical component. In particular, the students will be given the opportunity to design and run their own experiments using the EISCAT radar system, and then to analyse their data sets.

The school will be organised as follows. The lectures will take place during the morning sessions, from Monday 25 until Friday 29 July. The afternoon sessions will be dedicated to hands-on work in  small groups, with the objectives of designing a radar experiment suitable to study a chosen physical phenomenon, and of analysing the obtained data accordingly. There will also be many opportunities for students to directly interact with the lecturers during these sessions. The experiments will be run during the 26-27 July night. On Saturday 30 July morning, the groups will present their results to all  the summer school participants.

The school will take place near the beautiful banks of the river Kitinen.
Photo: M. Grandin

All students will be hosted at the local vocational school in Sodankylä, and meals (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) will be provided.

The deadline for submitting an application is 6 March 2016. The selected participants will be notified by 29 March 2016.

More information and detailed instructions for application can be found on the following webpages:
- US participants: http://www.amisr.com/workshop

For any inquiries, please contact RS2016(at)sgo.fi (EISCAT/SGO) or summerschool(at)esd.sri.com (US NSF).