LISN in the pursuit of forming a distributed observatory
Por  Marita Villaverde

LISN is a name that has gotten a place gradually in the scientific field. Its acronyms mean Low-Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network, title which by itself, and describe the challenge of this project: To form a distributed observatory for the study of Ionospheric phenomena through a series of geophysical instruments installed at different points of South America.  

In October, the LISN team, in its task of installation of instruments, succeeded in the operation of the first ionosonde. The instrument is installed at Jicamarca Radio Observatory, and because of the importance of this event we talked with Dr. Elizabeth Silvestre, coordinator of LISN at Peru to give us more details about their objectives.

- With respect to the first ionosonde installed at Jicamarca Radio Observatory, how long does it take to put it in operation?

It is really the first ionosonde of the ones planned that we have built for the project. Approximately, it took 7 months to put the ionosonde in operation, since the construction of the hut of instruments, the initial step, until the final tests.

During this time, we have gained a lot of experience which is going to allow us to reduce the installation time for the next ionosondes.

- You have done tests with the ionosonde. What results have you obtained?

Once the installation of the transmitter and receiver antennas, as well as, the respective equipments was finished, we tested and verified the operational system and data acquisition for subsequent applications. The results are satisfactory.

Transmitter antenna
Transmitter antenna

- How will data be processed and distributed?

The data will be processed on two computers, working in parallel, which made the reception, transmission and the obtaining of Ionospheric products, such as ionograms, which will be placed at disposal of the community through the LISN website.

Receiver antennas
Receiver antennas

- What is the meaning for LISN to be running this instrument?

It has great importance; we can get the behavior on the horizontal axis of the ionosphere with GPS and magnetometers. The ionosonde allows us to obtain the behavior of the ionosphere in the vertical axis, therefore, we get a comprehensive monitoring of the ionosphere in their directions: horizontal (X, Y) and vertical (Z).

- Who participated in the design and installation of this instrument?

Peruvian and foreigner engineers and doctors participated in the design, among them: Dr. Cesar Valladares, Eng. Terry Bullet, Eng. Bob Livingston (who was in charge of the instrumental part and software), and Dr. Jorge Chau. The construction and installation of the transmission antenna was in charge of Eng. Ricardo Coloma and the installation of the reception system was in charge of Eng. Cesar de la Jara.


- How many ionosondes are left to install and what are the selected sites?

It was planned 5 ionosondes for LISN project and this is the first one, called prototype which has allowed us to obtain information about design, installation and operation. At the same time, it will serve as experience for the next ionosondes to be installed in: Argentina (CASLEO), Chile (Cerro Frames), Venezuela (Merida), Colombia (Leticia) and Peru (Puerto Maldonado).

- What are LISN expectations up to now? Where do you want to reach?

In this regard, we have long-term expectations. We are currently at 70% of the project and hope to accomplish successfully our plans and objectives.