40 year anniversary for EISCAT
On August 26 1981 the EISCAT mainland systems were inaugurated with great ceremony in all three host countries: Finland, Norway and Sweden. The inauguration was held simultaneously in all host countries and in the presence of dignitaries from all member nations. The day was blessed with the rare fortune of clear skies in all three sites.
The observations were officially started in Kiruna, Sweden by HM king Carl XVI Gustav. With the press of a button, all three sites simultaneously started receiving and displaying data.
For the remainder of the year 1981, the EISCAT director Dr. Tor Hagfors and all EISCAT staff saw frantic activity to make observations in various types of common programmes as well as in support of GEOS, several rocket campaigns, optical observations, The Energy Budget campaign and ionospheric modification experiments.
The system had some minor growing pains, but was already in the early days of its life a great scientific achievement.
Dr. Tor Hagfors was the first director of EISCAT and left EISCAT in 1982 after a great many scientific accomplishments. Dr. Hagfors was superseded by Dr. Murray Baron.
Now EISCAT has been expanded with the EISCAT Svalbard Radar in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. In the near future the new EISCAT_3D radar will replace the old mainland systems.
Photos: Torbjörn Lövgren, KGI