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The aurora borealis (or northern lights) produces spectacular green and red light and these light emissions have long been studied by scientists for clues about the origin and nature of the aurora. The aurora also produces electromagnetic radiation at radio frequencies, unseen by the eye, which in turn provide a wealth of further information about auroral physics in much the same way that radio astronomy complements optical observations of stars and galaxies.

Very low frequency radio waves from the aurora are well-known, but, the frequency band from 100 kHz to many MHz has been relatively neglected. Since 1992, when our first radio receiver was placed near Chena Hot Springs, Alaska, the experimental Geoplasma Physics Group at Dartmouth has operated remote ground-based radio observatories from various sites around the world in order to discover what auroral radio emissions occur in this frequency range. The maps below show sites at which Dartmouth has maintained radio receivers. Each site includes a programmable stepped frequency receiver (PSFR), magnetic loop antenna, and a personal computer, and some sites include additional radio receivers.

Research Sites


Northern Hemisphere          Southern Hemisphere