Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School

Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science Summer School Students 2008

This school is supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Upper Atmosphere Program of the National Science Foundation. Instructional activities over a two week period with opportunities for hands-on observational experiments at Poker Flat research range and the HAARP Gakona Observatory.

School Information

The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks held a Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science (PARS) Summer School in late July 2010, which to provide instruction and hands-on experimental experience for students and their graduate supervisors. Air Force Research Laboratory (logo)Supported by the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Upper Atmosphere Program of the National Science Foundation. It was held in  Fairbanks and Gakona districts of Alaska from July 13 to July 23.


Each time we run the summer program, we change the focus. This summer's motivation was to provide an opportunity for students to study the upper atmosphere and ionosphere at polar latitudes with practical experience built into the learning process. There is a need for more trained scientists and engineers with a knowledge of the special effects that occur in the ionosphere at high latitudes. This summer school was established to attract students with exceptional talent to become more familiar with this exciting area of study.

National Science  Foundation logoTheme

The theme of the school in 2010 was Ionospheric Plasma Physics. Instruction covered the basics of the ionosphere, the magnetosphere, and the atmosphere, and the plasma phenomena in this interesting regeim. Special attention was given to radio wave interaction with the plasma.

Various facilities within Alaska volunteered for student experiments. In Fairbanks, the Poker Flat Incoherent-Scatter RADAR, the Kodiak SuperDARN RADAR, and the Poker Flat LIDAR participated. The HAARP Observatory, home to a 3600 kW High-Frequency radio transmitter and a suite of optical and radio diagnostic

instruments, was the base of operations in Gakona. We used this facility to interact with the local ionosphere to produce small-scale plasma cavities and coherent modulation of the natural electrojet current. Students at Gakona, were able to interact with ionosond, riometer, VLF and ELF receivers, UHF radar (MUIR), VHF radar, optical imagers and photometers.

Office of Naval Research Science &  Technology

Student Selection

Students in 2010 submitted proposals for a project that could be undertaken either at Poker Flat Research Range or Gakona Observatory in order to be considered for enrollment. At a cap of 20 students maximum, seats for this Summer School were vied for actively.