Organization

Observatories

Rikubetsu Observatory

Rikubetsu Observatory (in Rikubetsu Space and Earth Science Museum, in eastern Hokkaido) enjoys many clear-sky days and is free from local air pollution. Two major research projects are carried out in this observatory. One is a continuous monitoring of stratospheric ozone and related species, based on infrared and optical spectroscopic observations. The other is a study of mid-latitude auroral activity during major geomagnetic storms by means of the high sensitivity all-sky CCD camera, scanning spectrometers,  magnetometers and HF radar. STEL collaborates on the studies of stratosphere with the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), which sponsors various instruments such as a millimeter-wave radiometer in the same observing room. Rikubetsu Observatory is playing a key role in international collaborative programs such as the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC).

The Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometerthe Sun tracker

The Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer (FTIR, left) and the Sun tracker (right) that feeds sunlight into the spectrometer. Density and vertical distribution of minor constituents in the atmosphere can be retrieved from absorption spectra against background sunlight. Spectral data are obtained every 30 minutes at a world-class resolution of 0.0035 cm-1.

Low-altitude aurora detected with the high-sensitivity all-sky camera at Rikubetsu Observatory. This is a false-color intensity map of the red auroral light at wavelength 630 nm emitted by oxygen atoms.

Low-altitude aurora detected with the high-sensitivity all-sky camera at Rikubetsu Observatory. This is a false-color intensity map of the red auroral light at wavelength 630 nm emitted by oxygen atoms.

A time series of ozone mixing ratio at various altitudes (lower panel).    The ozone density at 22 km and 30 km decreased when a polar vortex (indicated by the hatched area) passed over Rikubetsu Observatory. The upper panels show distributions of polar vortices around the North Pole. This work has been performed in collaboration with the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES).

A time series of ozone mixing ratio at various altitudes (lower panel). The ozone density at 22 km and 30 km decreased when a polar vortex (indicated by the hatched area) passed over Rikubetsu Observatory. The upper panels show distributions of polar vortices around the North Pole. This work has been performed in collaboration with the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES).

Intense westward ionospheric plasma flow above Far-East Russia observed by the HF radar.

Intense westward ionospheric plasma flow above Far-East Russia observed by the HF radar. The radar can cover wide horizontal area to monitor the structure and dynamics of the ionosphere.