Aurora and a laser radar beam light up the sky on a winter's night at the Lidar Research Laboratory, Poker Flat Research Range, Chatanika, Alaska . The Geophysical Institute and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology operate the laser radar (or lidar) as part of an international collaborative study of the polar atmosphere.
Like a radar, the lidar transmits a pulse of light into the sky and measures the echoes to make a profile of the atmosphere from the ground up to heights as far as 75 miles (120 km). The lidar, like other experiments at Poker Flat Research Range, not only serves to study the atmosphere, but also provides hands-on research education opportunities for students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
LIDAR Laboratory, located at Poker Flat Research Range, Chatanika, Alaska, operated by the faculty, staff, and students of the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation, supports laser radar (or lidar) and associated studies of the Arctic atmosphere. Completed in 2000, the LRL is a 5325 square foot (495 square meter) facility that houses several laboratories and shops that are equipped to support field experiments.
Credit: T. Matsuo, LIDAR Laboratory, funded in part by the National Science Foundation