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Last updated: November 21, 2022 by Emma Unander

Welcome to EISCAT Scientific Association

EISCAT is an international scientific association with member institutes in several countries. We conduct ionospheric and atmospheric measurements with radars. As an example we can observe effects of the aurora borealis or the northern lights. We operate in three countries: Finland, Norway and Sweden, and all our facilities are located north of the Arctic circle. We are associated with our radar antennas, that are located in Kiruna, Sweden; Sodankylä, Finland; Tromsø, Norway and in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. In Tromsø we also have a combined ionospheric heating and short-wave radar facility.

EISCAT antenna outside Kiruna.
EISCAT antenna outside Kiruna. Photo: Lars-Göran Vanhainen

EISCAT Scientific Association is a non-profit scientific organisation that operate four radar antenna sites to enable research on the ionosphere and the upper atmosphere. Our radars are all located above the Arctic Circle and all radar sites work together, which give scientists an unique reserarch opportunity. EISCAT radars have been used for different types of studies and different phenomenas, for example Space WeatherSpace Debris and the Aurora. You can find more information in the publications.

To gain access to our facilities, read more here.

EISCAT was established in 1975. We are a scientific organisation that conducts research on the lower, middle and upper atmosphere and ionosphere using the incoherent scatter radar technique. This technique is the most powerful ground-based tool for these research applications. The first EISCAT system, the UHF incoherent scatter radar, became operable in 1981. Since then, the facilities of the EISCAT Scientific Association have been continuously developed and extended and today comprise world-class radars and a powerful ionospheric heating facility.

Drawing of the ionosphere
Drawing of the ionosphere

EISCAT is also being used as a coherent scatter radar for studying instabilities in the ionosphere, as well as for investigating the structure and dynamics of the middle atmosphere and as a diagnostic instrument in ionospheric modification experiments with the Heating facility.

There are ten incoherent scatter radars in the world, and we here at EISCAT operates three of the highest-standard facilities. These sites are located in the Scandinavian sector, north of the Arctic Circle. They consist of two independent radar systems under the auroral oval on the mainland, together with another radar in the north polar cap region on the island of Spitzbergen in the Svalbard archipelago.

The EISCAT radars may only be used for civilian reserach.

First Council meeting

EISCAT is governed by The EISCAT Council, that has an overall responsibility for the activities of the Association. The EISCAT Council usually meet twice a year. Read more here: The EISCAT Council.

The first EISCAT Council meeting was held at Kiruna Geophysical Observatory (KGO), Sweden, 20 January 1976.

The first Council meeting held in Kiruna in 1976
The first Council meeting held in Kiruna in 1976
The first Council meeting held in Kiruna in 1976

Attending from Associates: Dr. H.H. Atkinson, UK, Prof. W.I. Axford, Germany, Prof. W.J.G Beynon, UK, Mr. P. Creyssel, France (Chairperson), Dr. J. Delhaye, France, Prof. K.B. Dysthe, Norway, Mr. J. Gustavsson, Sweden, Dr. G. Haerendel, Germany, Dr. F. Horner, UK, Prof. B. Hultqvist, Sweden (Vice-Chair), Dr. G. Preiss, Germany, Dr. O. Ranta, Finland, Mr. A. Sandbo, Norway and Prof. A. Siivola, Finland. Absent: Mr. F. du Castel, France. EISCAT staff: Prof. T. Hagfors (Director) and Dr. K. Folkestad (Assistant Director). Other participants: Mr. A. Jubier, France, Mme. J. Mirabel, France. Dr. H. Rishbeth (SAC Chairperson) and Mr. A. Schwerer (Contract Review Commission (SRC) member). With France beeing a member, both English and French were used in the meeting (you see the interpreter’s booth in the second photo)

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