Home | Group | Links | Meetings | Outreach | Projects | Data | Publications

Canadian GeoSpace Monitoring (CGSM) is a national program that brings HF radars, digisondes, ASIs, MSPs, riometers, and fluxgate and induction coil magnetometers to remote sense ionospheric fields and thermodynamics on a continental scale. During the first phase of CGSM (2003-2007), our research group led NORSTAR, the optical and riometry observational element of the program. As well, we developed the core site management infrastructure including the Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI) and satellite internet system. In 2007, the CSA released a call for proposals for the second phase of CGSM. Our group won three contracts supporting three separate observational programs (next three projects in list).

(1) CGSM Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) Array: The MSI network spans >6 hours of MLT and geomagnetic latitudes from the polar cap to the sub-auroral zone. The scientific deliverables include mosaics of red, green, and blue emissions at 12 second cadence. E. Donovan presented a project overview at the CGSM kickoff meeting in Montreal in April 2007.

(2) CGSM riometer network (CRN): The CRN consists of the former CANOPUS and new CANMOS riometers, and spans Canada from coast to coast, with coverage across the sub-auroral and auroral zones and well into the polar cap. As well, CRN operates an imaging riometer at Fort Smith in collaboration with Al Weatherwax. E. Donovan presented a project overview at the CGSM kickoff meeting in Montreal in April 2007.

(3) CGSM MSP: The former CANOPUS MSPS are at present the only reliable means of observing proton aurora in the Canadian sector. The instruments at Gillam and Pinawa are still operating in their original configuration, and the Fort Smith instrument has been modernized. The Rankin Inlet MSP is being retrofitted and should be in the field for the 2009-2010 observing season, although we are not sure where it will be redeployed (Rabbit Lake is one option).

MSP Retrofit: The MSPs were originally installed in the mid-1980s. These are complicated instruments and are literally on their “last legs”. To address this urgent concern, the CSA has funded a retrofit of these instruments in stages. The first involved the retrofit of Fort Smith and is now complete. The second involves the retrofit of the former Rankin Inlet instrument, and is to begin in November 2008. The group is developing a strawman design for a proton auroral MSP, which would significantly reduce costs for future refurbishments.

THEMIS ASI: In partnership with UCBerkeley, the UCalgary Auroral Imaging group developed the THEMIS-ASI network. At present, UCalgary operates 16 white light ASIs (part of the oerall 21 ASI network from Alaska to Greenland). UCalgary produces software to support mosaics and carries out other data analysis tasks. The ASI project is a component of the NASA THEMIS mission.

Dense Array: Three stand-alone high resolution imagers designed for campaign operations. The dense array imagers have been operated in Calling Lake, Athabasca, and Legal (all in Alberta), producing data that will be useful for triangulation. The data from the Dense Array is available by special request to E. Donovan (edonovan[at]ucalgary.ca).

AMISR (Resolute Bay): The Resolute Bay Incoherent Scatter Radar (RISR) is a US-Canada initiative to develop a phased array Incoherent Scatter Radar in Canada’s arctic. UofC leads the Canadian RISR consortium which includes space and atmospheric physics, geomatics, and radio astronomy at UofC, AU, USask, York, UNB, UWO. RISR has strong synergies with ePoP, Swarm, ACE, and CGSM, and benefits GNSS, space weather, climate change, and data mining/access. The primary US partner is SRI International, with involvement from MIT, Cornell, and U. Alaska. Funding for the first phase comes from US NSF. A CFI application has been submitted to secure funding for the Canadian part of RISR.

UofC has a long history of successful global auroral imaging from space. UofC researchers have developed UV auroral imagers which have been successfully flown on the ISIS-II, Viking, Freja, and Interball satellites. The FUV instrument on NASA’s IMAGE MIDEX mission was the refurbished Freja imager engineering model. UofC researchers have developed the concept for a two-satellite mission which would provide 24/7 global hemispheric auroral imaging, allowing for the first time unbroken imaging sequences of the aurora during long-duration geomagnetic disturbances. This mission concept, named Ravens, was incorporated into the Chinese KuaFu mission, which is presently in Phase A (or pre Phase A) in China, Europe, and Canada. UofC will lead a consortium of researchers from Canada, Norway, Finland, and China to develop and build the LBH UV imaging component of KuaFu if the mission goes through to launch. ISIS has identified a global auroral imaging mission consistent with the Ravens mission concept to be the highest priority space science project after the ePoP mission.

Global Auroral Imaging Access (GAIA) is a UofC led international Virtual Observatory (VO) program which enables rapid searching of summary data from instruments that remote sense auroral precipitation (ASIs, satellite imagers, wide beam riometers, imaging riometers, MSPs). At present GAIA has nodes in Canada, the UK, and Finland, provides access to data from dozens of instruments operated by researchers in North America, Europe, and Asia, and is rapidly growing. Ongoing initiatives will, for example, develop data access capabilities for GAIA, as well as web-services connectivity to other VOs worldwide. GAIA compliments other VOs, most notably the US NSF funded SuperMag and SuperDARN projects. There are ongoing discussion between GAIA, SuperDARN and SuperMag centered on developing a common framework for representation of global data, based on NASA's HealPix which was developed for representation of data on the cosmic sphere. The intention is to re-grid global data using the HealPix protocols which are flexible in terms of resolution, to allow overlaying of data from different programs (e.g., convection and auroral emission), facilitating data assimilation, and lowering the “entry barrier” for researchers who wish to use data they are unfamiliar with.