Remote Equatorial Nighttime Observatory of Ionospheric Regions (RENOIR)

PIs: Jonathan Makela of the University of Illinois

The Remote Equatorial Nighttime Observatory of Ionospheric Regions (RENOIR) project is a joint collaboration between researchers from several institutions, including The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Clemson University, Cornell University, the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Federal University at Campina Grande (UFCG). Through the construction and deployment of a RENOIR station, we hope to come to a better understanding of the variability in the nighttime ionosphere and the effects this variability has on critical satellite navigation and communication systems.

A suite of instruments dedicated to studying the equatorial/low-latitude ionosphere/thermosphere system, its response to storms, and the irregularities that can be present on a daily basis.

The equipment comprising a single RENOIR station will consist of:

  • one wide-field ionospheric imaging system,
  • two miniaturized Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI),
  • a dual-frequency GPS receiver,
  • an array of five single-frequency GPS scintillation monitors.

A RENOIR station can involve:

  1. an array of single frequency GPS scintillation monitors. These provide measurements of the irregularities present, their size, orientation, and speed.
  2. a dual-frequency GPS receiver. This provides measurements of the total electron content of the ionosphere. If a site could be located that already fields a dual-frequency GPS receiver, this would not be needed.
  3. an all-sky imaging system (PICASSO). This measures two different thermosphere/ionosphere emissions from which the two-dimensional structure/motion of irregularities can be observed. The data can also be used to calculate the density and height of the ionosphere.
  4. two miniaturized Fabry-Perot interferometers (MiniME). These provide measurements of the thermospheric neutral winds and temperatures. The two FPIs are separated by approximately 300km or so, allowing bistatic, common-volume measurements. The measurements will be useful for studying the response of the thermosphere to storms as well as looking for a possible connection of gravity waves to the seeding of equatorial instabilities.

The two stations,

  1. Cajazeiras
    • geographic: -6.89 N, -38.56 E;
    • geomagnetic: -5.75 N, 32.97 E
  2. Cariri
    • geographic: -7.39 N, -36.53 E;
    • geomagnetic: -6.81 N, 34.69 E,
are located in eastern Brazil.

Third station is situated in Marrakech, Morocco

  • geographic: 31.6 N, 7.98 W;

RENOIR Page can be found in the Personal page of Prof. Makela (look here),
under Research -> RENOIR

Recently published articles:

Meriwether, J. W., J. J. Makela, Y. Huang, D. J. Fisher, R. A. Buriti, A. F. Medeiros, and H. Takahashi (2011), Climatology of the nighttime equatorial thermospheric winds and temperatures over Brazil near solar minimum, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A04322, doi:10.1029/2011JA016477

Chapagain, N. P. , Makela, J. J. , Meriwether, J. W. , Fisher, D. J. , Buriti, R. A. , & Medeiros, A. F. (2012). Comparison of nighttime zonal neutral winds and equatorial plasma bubble drift velocities over Brazil. J. Geophys. Res., 117(A6). doi:10.1029/2012JA017620