SIMONe Peru: After 6 months of operations.

SIMONe Peru Stations
By the end of September 2019 a new Spread Spectrum Interferometric Multistatic meteor radar Observing Network (SIMONe) started operations in the central coast of Peru, with its transmitter located at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO), where the largest antenna for ionospheric studies exist. The system consists of 5 antennas on transmission forming a Pentagon interferometer located at JRO, and 5 dual-polarized single antennas located between 40 and 180 km from Jicamarca. The location of the operating (blue dots) and tested for some time (gray dot) receiving sites are indicated in this map

The main purpose of the system is to measure the winds in the mesosphere and lower mesosphere (between 70 and 110 km in altitude), by measuring the Doppler shift and location of meteor trails. In this figure we show an example of mean winds obtained during three continuous days December 2019 with five working multistatic links. In addition to the winds (middle two panels), the number of counts for each link (bottom panel), and other quality control parameters are shown on the figure (courtesy of Mathias Clahsen).

The SIMONe concept since uses MIMO and spread spectrum on transmission (Vierinen, 2016) is easier to implement and to augment the number of receiver stations, when compare to traditional systems (e.g., Chau et al., 2019 and Urco et al., 2019). Previously, Juha Vierinen reported the successful SIMONe 2018 campaign, that we conducted in northern Germany. One can get an idea of how easy is to implement the concept by reading that blog posting. Below you find some examples of our antenna installations in Peru.

Huancayo Receiver. Receiving antenna installed by Miguel Urco et al. at the famous Huancayo Observatory,  where the equatorial electrojet was discovered in the early 1920s.
Azpitia Receiver. Antenna  installed by Rommel Yaya at a field of banana plants in Azpitia (The Sky's Balcony).
Santa Rosa Receiver. Antenna installed by Karim Kuyeng et al. in the roof of building in Santa Rosa de Quives. In this town was born the first American Roman Catholic saint (Rose of Lima).

La Cantuta receiving site.
The next receiving antenna will be installed close La Cantuta branch of Club Regatas Lima. We have already conducted successfully a four-day campaign. We hope that as soon as the lockdown restrictions in Peru due COVID-19 stop, our JRO colleagues will be able to install it.

As mentioned above the transmitting antenna has been installed at JRO. Here is a view of three of the five antennas. Don’t get confused, it is not the Moon, it is planet Earth!

Transmitter antennas at JRO.
Besides the mean winds shown above, the multistatic configuration will allow us to measure the winds inside an area of less than 400 km diameter at MLT heights, at horizontal resolutions less than 50 km diameter, i.e., 4D (x,y,z,t) winds, for example using a first-order Taylor expansion or gradient method (Chau et al., 2017). Similarly, making use of line of sight velocity second order statistics (e.g., Vierinen et al., 2019), we should also be able to measure 4D correlation, structure and spectra functions of the wind components, when the quality of multilink data is good.

A few days ago, Juha Vierinen wrote about a Bolide that was observed in Peru with SIMONe Peru, showing that the system could be also used for bolide detection and identification, either from the trail left behind or the echo in front of the bolide (head echo).  SIMONE Peru is also capable go getting echoes from airplanes and from plasma irregularities, like those related to the equatorial electrojet and non-specular meteor echoes.

On-site installation group at JRO. From left to right:
Marco Milla, Juan Carlos Espinoza, Koki Chau,
Karim Kuyeng, and Miguel Urco.

SIMONe Peru is an international effort lead by the Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics (Germany) in collaboration with the Instituto Geofisico del Peru, Ciencia Internacional (Peru), the Arctic University of Norway, and the MIT-Haystack Observatory (USA). The installation was done with the help of JRO staff in close coordination with Marco Milla, JRO Director. More than 16 people under the supervision of Karim Kuyeng and Juan Carlos Espinoza, as well as Miguel Urco and myself, participated in person, while Nico Pfeffer, Matthias Clahsen and Juha Vierinen participated remotely.