News Archive

New aurora forecasts
October 29, 2020
We are happy to announce that release version 6.8 of our Aurora Forecast 3D app now includes two new models of the aurora ovals. Both models are based on years of polar orbiting satellite data from NASA.

More info here.
Mysterious neighbor?
October 24, 2020
To our big surprise a new construction appeared out of nowhere by the road up to the observatory last week. It turned out to be a new vault storing precious American goods for the future. We hope to be invited to the grand opening.

More info here.
Master Breedveld!
July 2, 2020
Congratulation to Master Mikkel J. Breedveld! He has studied polar orbiting POES / MetOP satellite precipitation data and made new auroral ovals for us. His work will be used in our Aurora Forecast 3D app.

Read thesis here.
Silver Bullet is upgraded!
June 17, 2020
After 40 years of service, the rotary motor system of the Silver Bullet spectrometer died on us. Luckily, it happened at the end of the dark season . A new high precision servo system is now installed.

Read details here.
TU/e Trainee
June 12, 2020
Together with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) we congratulate Adrienne Esmeralda Oudijk on her Erasmu+ Traineeship at UNIS. She has used our Hyper Spectral Imager v6 and found how to compress the spectral data cube by a factor of 10-4 with minimum loss of spatial resolution and spectral signature.

Read report here.
Linux test release!
May 8, 2020
Our popular Aurora Forecast 3D app is now finally available for testing on Linux platforms. The app is compiled in Windows 10 loaded with Delphi RAD studio 10.3 Architect using FMXLinux onto a 64-bit Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS Linux computer.

Goto download page with instructions here.
January 1, 2020
KHO is part of the TV series named Snowhow that starts on 2nd January 2020. The theme is the Nordic winter and how we cope with it. It is produced by NRK in association with SVT, YLE and NDR.

See NRK link here.
Aurora Seashell!
December 24, 2019
Jennifer Briggs, a physics student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, has analyzed our BACC data and discovered a new type of twisted dayside aurora related to an extreme foreshock out in the magnetosphere.

Link NASA statement, or Forbes
Dr. Erkka Petteri Heino!
December 14, 2019
We are proud to announce that on Wednesday 18th December 2019 Erkka Petteri Heino successfully defended his PhD thesis titled: Spatial extent of solar proton impact in the Earth's atmosphere - Observations and modeling.

Read thesis here.
Master Erlend S. Kallelid
December 2019
We congratulate Master Erlend Salte Kallelid! He has studied how the ionosphere responds to intense substorms and energetic electron precipitation using data from both magnetometers and riometers.

Read thesis here.
CHI launched!
December 10, 2019
Left shows as observed from KHO, one out of eight Barium / Strontium high altitude clouds released from the Cusp Heating Investigation (CHI) NASA rocket. It was launched successfully at 09:30 UT from SvalRak. PI of the campaign is Prof. Miguel Larsen from the Clemson University in USA. More info here. Video Clips [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Scrns [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]
Dutch Trainee
December 2, 2019
Together with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) we congratulate Charlotte van Hazendonk on her Erasmu+ Traineeship at UNIS. She has in detail characterized our Hyper Spectral Imager (HSI) V6 with focus on radiometric calibration including the gain function. A novel procedure to remove second order spectral effects is also presented.
Read report here.
ICI-5 launched!
November 26, 2019
Today Prof. J. Moen from UiO/UNIS launched successfully together with the EISCAT Svalbard radar and us the ICI-5 (Ionospheric Cusp Irregularities-5) rocket into the dayside aurora at 07:43:04 UT from SvalRaK. The rocket is part of the Grand Challenge Initiative (GCI) - Cusp and aims to study how GPS signals are disturbed by aurora.
Info here. Launch movie.
A Shot in the dark
November 14, 2019
NASA just released an informative video and audio documentary of the VISIONS-2 (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom Sensing-2) rocket campaign. More media events will follow and we are very happy to be part of it!
Media : Youtube, Audio, Blog, and Facebook
Master Marie Bøe Henriksen!
June 2019
Congratulation to Master Marie Bøe Henriksen! She has studied our miniaturized Hyper Spectral Imagers (HSI) in detail. Her work is focused on calibration and image correction. She is now a PhD. student at NTNU AMOS.
Read thesis here.
Minister of Research visits
On Saturday morning, our Minister of Science and Higher Education in Norway Iselin Nybø and her crew visited and inspected KHO. To the left the Minister checks out our observational dome in the instrumental section.
More images here.
RENU 2 makes headlines
The GRL overview paper by PI Marc Lessard of the Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling 2 (RENU2) is making headlines in PHYS.ORG. KHO is sited and our BACC camera movie of the dayside aurora is highlighted.
Read article here.
Exceptional image!
The CAPER-2 rocket launch was captured by pilot Eivind Trondsen on the Lufttransport Dornier 228 flight from Ny-Ålesund to Longyearbyen. The sun illuminated rocket trail is seen towards the south horizon as the rocket penetrates the upper layers of the atmosphere.
More details here.
U.S. Ambassador to Norway
We are proud to announce that the U.S. Ambassador to Norway and former Rear Admiral United States Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite has visited KHO. He was informed about our long standing relation and excellent co-operation with U.S. space science.
More info here.
CAPER-2 rocket launched!
Today at 09:26:58 UT the Cusp Alfven and Plasma Electrodynamics Rocket-2 (CAPER-2) was launched from Andøya over Svalbard into perfect optical cusp conditions as seen from KHO.
ASC:Info NORUSCA camera: Movie
Data Scrn dumps:[ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]
TRICE-2 rocket campaign!
Again KHO supported two more sounding rockets launched from Andoya over Svalbard in perfect science conditions into a pulsed reconnecltion event. The Twin Rockets to Investigate Cusp Electrodynamics-2 (TRICE-2) launched 2 minutes apart at 08:28 UT.
ASC Launch video More info here.
VISIONS-2 rocket campaign!
KHO supported today the VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom Sensing-2 (VISION-2) rocket campaign. Its aim is to detect neutral outflow in the upper magnetosphere associated with the dayside aurora. The event was recorded by one of our BACC cameras.
See [Blog, BACC: Movie, ASC: Info]
10 years anniversary
KHO celebrates 10 years of operation and studies of the optical aurora and airglow. Thanks to our colleagues/groups that have installed instruments at the observatory. Also thanks to Statsbygg, Longyearbyen and all of our friends that support us.
Svalbardposten [1]
Light pollution network
KHO has joined the STARS4ALL project which is a collective awareness platform for promoting dark skies in Europe, funded by the EU. A TESS-W photometer is installed to monitor sky brightness in units of star magnitude all year round.

Photometer info here.
SuperDarn radar down!
Today at 10 LT our SuperDarn radar took a hard hit by bad weather conditions and is unfortunately out of operation. Wind gusts up to 20 m/s in combination with icing conditions bended the masts 135 degrees down to the ground. 45 mm diameter ice tubes was super clued around the 6 mm wires, increasing the mass by 1.2 kg per meter wire used in the construction.
A comprehensive study will follow!
Mass production!
Together with NTNU AMOS and Moon Labs we are proud to announce that our first serial produced Hyper Spectral Imager (HSI) no. v4J arrived in the mail today. It is based on our work that has been among the top 10 most read papers for six months in Optics Express (2018).

Read paper here.
Dr. Norah Kaggwa Kwagala!
KHO congratulates Norah Kaggwa Kwagala at the BCSS on successfully defending her PhD titled: Thermally excited 630.0 nm emissions in the polar ionosphere. She has actively used optical data from both us and the Eiscat radar.

More info here.
OSA press release
Our work on small and lightweight hyperspectral imagers has been awarded a press release by the Optical Society of America (OSA). Drone-based land and ocean spectral mapping is now possible at very low cost.
Read press release and paper here.
We are proud to announce that KHO is part in the satellite proposal of NTNU AMOS that just got funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Our knowledge of hyperspectral imaging will fly into space!
In the spotlight!
KHO have hosted two large TV productions in December. NRK is producing a documentary about the Nordic winter and NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) - Japan Broadcasting Corporation is planning for the first time to broadcast the dayside aurora in 360 view.
Aurora Forecast 3D released
The new auroral forecast is now finally released. It is a cross-platform app for both Apple and Windows computers. It is published on Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS phones. It forecasts the aurora oval up to +0, +1, and +4 hours ahead in time at any location on the planet using a 3D graphical layout.
360 image of the aurora
I finally got some time to play with the Ricoh Theta S camera. My first target is the substorm aurora above Svalbard on 3rd of Mars 2017. The exposure time is 3.5 second at ISO 1600. This is promising indeed!
Photo: F. Sigernes
Doctor Xiangcai Chen
Salute! Xiangcai Chen has defended with success his PhD thesis titled: "A study of dayside open/closed field line boundary dynamics using simultaneous ground-based optical and HF radar observations". The defense was on Tuesday 28th of February 2017.
Doctora S. E. Holmen
We are proud to announce that Silje Eriksen Holmen has defended her PhD thesis "Trends and variability of polar mesopause region temperatures attributed to atmospheric dynamics and solar activity". The defense was on Tuesday 19th of December 2016.
Storm ripped off our roof!
The storm on Monday 7th of November ripped off half of our roof of the service section. It took off and landed 50m away from KHO towards Eiscat, right on top of the new magnetometer from PRIC. The Sensor survived the attack. Five minute average wind speeds were up to 30 m/s out of the Bolterdalen valley towards North. The Company Svalbard Bygg As has started the repairs.
See damage: [Images]
Australian 60 Minutes
The newsmagazine 60 Minutes from Australia has visited KHO. They learned about the origin of the Aurora and was given a tour of the Observatory and the EISCAT radars. The airborne footages of the radars by their Quadrocopter are really astonishing.
See YouTube: [video]
Phillipe Boucher
Philippe Boucher has broadcasted on the Euronews program "Learning World" a film about our activity on the mountain. The film called "Water Odyssey - The closest university to the North Pole" has been translated into 13 languages all over Europe including Arabic.
See film: [movie]
Front cover of JGR
Our PhD student Xiangcai Chen has together with space physics colleagues from China made the front cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR). The paper is an extensive study of diffuse dayside aurora during quiet geomagnetic conditions, over a time period of 7 years. A new type of diffuse aurora is observed at magnetic noon and is named throat aurora.
More info:[1] [2]
Mission complete!
KHO has successfully supported the Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling 2 (RENU2) campaign. Our instruments together with the Eiscat radar identified and tracked the target - the dayside aurora - and the rocket was launched at 07:34 UT from Andøya Space Centre.
More info: [1] [2]
Snow mapping by drones
We are happy to learn that Baptiste Vandecrux, Marco Marcer and Emiliano Cimoli have defended their masters successfully at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) on snow distribution by the help of Radar, Quadrocopters and Optics. KHO salute you!
Read all: [1] [2]
Master Norah
June 2015
Congratulations to Master Norah Kaggwa Kwagala! She has studied dayside 630.0 nm emissions due to thermally excited O(1D) in the cusp region ionsphere over Svalbard using both KHO and Eiscat. She is now a PhD. student at The Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS).
Aurora Skycam
KHO has teamed up with Aurora Skycam - a camera network with professional photographers that aims to provide real-time displays and alert systems of the aurora across the northern hemisphere.
The total eclipse
The preparations for the total eclipse of 20th of March 2015 have started with both airborne and ground-based campaigns planned. The totality of the event is only 147 seconds beginning at ~11:10 LT. Look 166o South-East and 11o above the horizon to see it.
ICI-4 Launched!
AGF-304/804 Master and PhD students provided radar support for the University of Oslo scientific sounding rocket ICI-4 mission last night. The rocket was launched successfully from Andøya Space Centre at 23.06 local time.
Queen Sonja
Her Royal Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway has visited KHO. Together with friends she inspected key instruments and was given an update on our research on aurora and airglow. The global weather machine and solar impacts was also discussed in relation to possible climatic changes. We are very happy for the Queens interest in our work.
C-REX launched successfully!
KHO is part of the Cusp Region EXperiment (C-REX), a NASA sounding rocket mission that just released a large constellation of artificial clouds into the ionosphere above the Greenland Sea. The rocket was launched from Andøya Space Centre at 08:05 UT on 24th of November, 2014.
Dr. Holmes, I presume?
A new protonic is born! Jeff Morgan Holmes defended on Friday the 29th of August at the University of Oslo (UiO) his PhD titled: The Protonics project: distributed observations of auroral dayside Doppler-shifted hydrogen emissions. KHO salute you!
Master Kinga
Congratulation to Master Kinga Albert! The thesis is called: Svalpoint: A multi-track optical pointing system. It enables us at KHO to track any object on the night sky with multiple instruments, simultaneously. Her work opens new opportunities for us and we really look forward to start using the system.
Finally safe!
All the 77 rooms of KHO are now secured by an automatic fire extinction system based on the INERGEN gas. The work was done by the company Fire Eater AS. Our one of a kind instruments are all extra protected. But, we hope not to use the system at all.
KHO airborne!
Our first flight with the Phantom Quadrocopter was a success. Location is close to the old Auroral station in Adventdalen. Remote sensing of any target of interest is now possible at very low cost. Our own sensors will soon be deployed onto these stable flying platforms.
Royal visit
Her Royal Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway has been with friends to KHO. Together with Sysselmannen she inspected key instruments and learned about the dayside aurora and airglow. We are very proud and happy. A nice video of the event is published at the Royal Youtube channel:
Read more: [YouTube] [ UNIS]
Hyperspectral auroras
Our NORUSCA II camera has made headline news at the Optical Society of America (OSA) as first-ever instrument to capture hyperspectral images of Earth's Auroras. The press release is a result of our paper just published in Optics Express.
Read more: [OSA] [ UNIS]
Status quo: Excellent!
The Space physics group at UNIS has become partner in a new Norwegian Center of Excellence (SFF centres) led by the Birkeland Center for Space Science at the University of Bergen. The centre will receive NOK 16 million per year for up to ten years - Hallelujah!
BBC News
Celebrity science editor David Shukman from BBC News has visited KHO and SPEAR. Exclusive interviews with our own Profs. Dag Lorentzen and Lisa Baddeley concerning solar storms and satellite navigation went nationwide on UK media.
Optics award to Silje
KHO PhD. Student Silje Eriksen Holmen has won the Young Scientist Award for her presentation about the Svalbard mesospheric temperature record at the 39th annual European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies by Optical Methods (39 AM) in Sopot, Polen, August 2012.

Our forecast goes public
The Auroral forecast at KHO is now available for all smart phone platforms including Android, iPhone and Windows.
The apps were released on Andøya Rocket Range 50 years anniversary, to honour their contribution to space physics and cooperation with UNIS.
ICI-3 launched!
The ICI-3 rocket was launched at 07:21:31 UT, Dec. 03 2011. KHO provided ground support to the campaign. The aim of the rocket is to investigate space weather and find out why GPS signals are disrupted in the post noon dayside / ionosphere.
Turtle mode
Students attending the UNIS course AGF-210 (The middle polar atmosphere) show us new and creative ways of removing dome covers at KHO. Both scared and safe turtle modes are demonstrated.
Film clips: [.wmv] [1] and [2]
New Japanese camera
A new Japanese instrument from the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo is now beeing installed at KHO. The all-sky imager will detect how polar cap patches (large scale plasma blobs) changes in shape in relation to dayside electron precipitation.
Mobile Auroral forecast
Our auroral forecast service at KHO is now available as a mobile application for phones that runs on the android operating system (version 1.5 and up). The program forecasts up to 1 hour in time the size and location of the auroral ovals, mapped on to a solar illuminated globe.
China joins KHO
The Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) and UNIS are now initiating a long term cooperation in studies of space and atmospheric physics. PRIC will install a new all-sky camera at KHO to complement measurements from the Arctic Yellow River Station in Ny-Ålesund.
The NORUSCA II Cameras
Two prototype auroral cameras are now constructed together with Russian and Ukrainian scientists. These hyperspectral cameras use new electo-optical technology to image the night sky as a function of wavelength with no moving parts!
First airglow image
Finally, after years of work we are able to image the airglow layer from KHO. The breakthrough came with our new near-infrared all-sky camera that was installed in December. It is now possible to monitor the weather at an altitude of ~90 km above ground level with high spatial resolution.
Post Doc Margit!
We are proud to inform that Dr. Margit Elisabet Dyrland has been awarded a personal 3 years post-doctoral fellowship by the Norwegian Research Council (FRINAT). She will study gravity waves and their impact on circulation and temperature in the middle atmosphere.
The RENU rocket
KHO has been used as head quarter for a Rocket campaign that aims to study the Effect of Neutral Upwelling of upper atmospheric oxygen atoms during dayside aurora (RENU). The rocket was launched from Andøya Rocket Range at 06:38 UT 12th December 2010.
More Info:   1  2  3  4
Substorm students
The students at the Polar Magnetospheric Substorms course AGF-345 experienced during their fieldwork at KHO and EISCAT a spectacular auroral display. Two nights of excellent datasets were collected for their project work.
More info
All-Sky Airglow Imager
A new high throughput near infrared all-sky camera made for imaging of mesospheric airglow has arrived to Svalbard. The instrument is made by Dr. Trond Trondsen at Keo Scientific Ltd. The camera system will be installed at KHO.
More info
Dr Margit!
Dr. Margit Dyrland has defended and finsihed with her PhD! The thesis is called: Multi-instrument studies of polar mesopause region temperature and airglow variablity. It is a study of the weather at 90 km altitude above Svalbard.
Read more