The early history of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory and the incoherent scatter technique

Ronald F. Woodman, Donald T. Farley, Ben B. Balsley, Marco A. Milla

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The purpose of these historical notes is to present the early history of the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO), a research facility that has been conducting observations and studies of the equatorial ionosphere for more than 50 years. We have limited the scope of these notes to the period of the construction of the observatory and roughly the first decade of its operation. Specifically, this period corresponds to the directorships under Kenneth Bowles, Donald Farley, and Tor Hagfors and the first period of Ronald Woodman, i.e., the years between 1960 and 1974. Within this time frame, we will emphasize observational and instrumental developments which led to define the capabilities of the Jicamarca incoherent scatter (IS) radar to measure the different physical parameters of the ionosphere. At the same time, we partially cover the early history of the IS technique which has been used by many other observatories built since. We will also briefly mention the observatory's early and most important contributions to our understanding of the physical mechanisms behind the many peculiar phenomena that occur at the magnetic Equator. Finally, we will put special emphasis on the important developments of the instrument and its observing techniques that frame the capabilities of the radar at that time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-266
Number of pages22
JournalHistory of Geo- and Space Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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