Phase and pattern calibration of the jicamarca radio observatory radar using satellites

B. Gao, J. D. Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Scopus citations


    The Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO) main 50-MHz array antenna radar system with multiple receivers is being used to study meteors via two interferometric receiving modes. One of the major challenges in these studies is the phase calibration of the various receiver (interferometric) channels (legs). While investigating some ambiguous features in meteor headecho results, we developed a 'new' calibration technique that employs satellite observations to produce more accurate phase and pattern measurements than were previously available. This calibration technique, which resolves head-echo ambiguities, uses the fact that Earthorbiting satellites are in gravitationally well-defined orbits and thus the pulse-to-pulse radar returns must be consistent (coherent) for an entire satellite pass through the radar beam. In particular, the satellite yields a reliable point source for phase and thus interferometry-derived range, Doppler and trajectory calibration. Using several satellites observed during standard meteor observations, we derive satellite orbital parameters by matching the observed and modelled three-dimensional trajectory and Doppler results. This approach uncovered subtle phase distortions that led to interferometry-derived trajectory distortions that are important only to point targets such as meteor head-echoes.We present the array calibration and radar imaging of satellite passes from our meteor observations of 2010 April 15/16. Future observations of a priori known satellites would likely yield significantly more accurate calibrations, especially of distant side lobes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3416-3426
    Number of pages11
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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