SuperDARN UK provides UK scientists with opportunities to run their own upper atmosphere experiments on one or more radars, for up to 50% of the total operational time.

SuperDARN UK will accept bids from any UK researchers to run specially-designed experiments during discretionary or special time (see below) and we will provide the necessary support to design and run the experiment. Under the existing SuperDARN rules, data from these experiments will be reserved for the sole use of the researcher for 2 years.

SuperDARN operations are coordinated by producing a monthly schedule that defines exactly how all the radars should be run (range limits, time and space resolution, beam sequence, frequency used, etc). These are grouped into three general categories:

  • Common Time – all radars run in the same mode, data is immediately and freely available to all.
  • Discretionary Time – each radar can be run independently in the manner chosen by the radar owner, data is restricted to the owner for 2 years before public release.
  • Special Time – all or a subset of radars are coordinated to run in a non-standard mode designed to address a particular scientific objective, perhaps related to a spacecraft mission or other wider scientific campaign. Data is immediately and freely available to all.

In each month it is required that Common Time must account for at least 50% of the total operating time and Discretionary and Special Time must not exceed 30% and 20%, respectively.

Example line-of-sight velocity data from an experiment in which the Pykkvibaer and Stokkseyri radars were operating in specially designed modes to investigate backscatter associated with the auroral oval (in grey) in coordination with all-sky auroral cameras located at Husafell and Tjornes. The regions marked E and F are backscatter from the E and F region ionosphere. The E region backscatter was found to be associated with an east-west aligned auroral arc, giving insights into the ionospheric instability mechanisms which give rise to the targets from which the radars scatter. The sporadic echoes marked M are associated with meteors ablating in the mesosphere. (from "Investigation of the relationship between optical auroral forms and HF radar E region backscatter", S. E. Milan, M. Lester, N. Sato, H. Takizawa, J.-P. Villain, Ann. Geophysicae, 18, 608-617, 2000)