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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 5
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1177–1182, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1177-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1177–1182, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1177-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 May 2003

31 May 2003

Automated detection of satellite contamination in incoherent scatter radar spectra

J. Porteous1, A. M. Samson1, K. A. Berrington1, and I. W. McCrea2 J. Porteous et al.
  • 1School of Science and Mathematics, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK
  • 2Space Science Department, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Oxon, OX11 0QX, UK

Abstract. Anomalous ion line spectra have been identified in many experiments. Such spectra are defined as deviations from the standard symmetric "double-humped" spectra derived from incoherent scatter radar echoes from the upper atmosphere. Some anomalous spectra – where there are sharp enhancements of power over restricted height ranges – have been attributed to satellite contamination in the beam path. Here we outline a method for detecting such contamination, and review in detail a few cases where the method enables the identification of anomalous spectra as satellite echoes, subsequently ascribed to specific orbital objects. The methods used here to identify such satellites provide a useful way of distinguishing anomalous spectra due to satellites from those of geophysical origin. Analysis of EISCAT Svalbard Radar data reveals that an average of 8 satellites per hour are found to cross the beam. Based on a relatively small sample of the data set, it appears that at least half of the occurrences of anomalous spectra are caused by satellite contamination rather than being of geophysical origin.

Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere, instruments and techniques) – Radio Science (signal processing)

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