Using Satellite Detections to Monitor the Ionosphere

This project will refine satellite detection techniques using a large radar north of Adelaide to develop new ways to measure the amount of plasma in the upper atmosphere and compare the results with other methods.

The Buckland Park stratosphere-troposphere (BPST) VHF radar is located 35 km North of Adelaide. The radar is typically used to measure stratosphere-troposphere winds and observed meteors in the upper atmosphere. Recently this radar has detected low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites at altitudes from 300 and 2000 km.

Ionospheric dispersion, which causes a delay in radar signal propagation between the ground and the satellite, results in an increase in the radar-measured distance to the satellite when compared with ephemeris information. The BPST satellite detections therefore potentially offer a new means of measuring Total Electron Content (TEC) at potentially significantly higher temporal resolution when compared with presently utilised GPS measurements.


Tagged in Honours projects - Physics, Honours Projects - David Holdsworth, Honours Projects - Andrew MacKinnon, Honours Projects - Bronwyn Dolman, Honours in Physics subtheme - Space and atmospheric