Updated on October 30, 2017 by Emma Unander


EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) near Longyearbyen in Spitzbergen, Svalbard, is the youngest of EISCAT’s research facilities. The location, high above the arctic circle and near the north pole, give us unique capabilities in auroral research. Because of the position and Svalbard’s unique climate with polar night form the middle of October until the middle of February, the season for observing the northern lights is long. 

EISCAT Svalbard Radar

EISCAT Svalbard Radar. Photo by Craig Heinselman

Sign of the building start The EISCAT Svalbard Radar operates in the 500 MHz band with a transmitter peak power of 1000 kW, 25 % duty cycle and 1 µs – 2 ms pulse length with frequency and phase modulation capability. There are two antennas, a 32 meter mechanically fully steerable parabolic dish antenna, and a 42 meter fixed parabolic antenna aligned along the direction of the local geomagnetic field.

The high latitude location of this facility is particularly aimed at studies of the cusp and polar cap region. The receivers include multiple channels. The data are pre-processed in signal processors, displayed and analysed in real-time and can be recorded to mass storage media both locally and at the main storage facility. The whole radar system is controlled by computers, and can be remotely commanded from the other radar sites. The land of the radar site is provided by the Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani AS. The building belongs to EISCAT.