spring 2021
FYS-3002 Techniques for investigating the near-earth space environment - 10 ECTS

Last changed 11.08.2021

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.

Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.  

Type of course

The course is available as a singular course. The course is also available to exchange students and Fulbright students.

The course will only be taught if there is a sufficient number of students. Are you interested in following the course, please contact the student advisor as soon as possible

Admission requirements

Admission requirements are a Bachelor's degree in physics or similar education, including specialization in physics worth the equivalent of not less than 80 ECTS credits. Local admission, application code 9371 - singular courses at Master's level.

Course overlap

FYS-3002 Techniques for investigating the near-earth space environment 10 stp
FYS-320 Techniques for Investigating the near-Earth Space Environment 10 stp

Course content

The course gives an introduction to some of the principle techniques and instruments commonly used in atmospheric, ionospheric and magnetospheric research. The main emphasis is placed on the incoherent scatter radar technique (e.g. the EISCAT radar system), but auxiliary instruments such as lidars (ALOMAR system), magnetometers, riometers, optical equipment, specific satellite and rocket instrumentation may also be discussed. The auxiliary part of the course content is dynamic in order to reflect the interests of the participating students. The incoherent scatter technique covers about 70 percent of the course, and the content is focused on universal aspects of volume scattering, the scattering from density fluctuations in plasma, derivation of the power density spectrum and discussion of the retrieved ionospheric parameters. We proceed with considering the effects of measurement errors due to the random nature of the received signal. The first part of the course ends with radar fundamentals such as the radar equation for a diffuse target, the concept of a range-time diagram, pulse coding techniques and the effects of different modulation and detection schemes.

Recommended prerequisites

FYS-2009 Introduction to plasma physics, FYS-3003 Space Physics, STA-2003 Time series

Objectives of the course

Knowledge - The student can

  • explain the incoherent scatter radar (ISR) technique
  • identify and describe the physical features of a power density spectrum
  • understand the principle of analysis of ISR data
  • understand the principles of different pulse-coding schemes for a selection of experiments
  • explain the basic principles of auxiliary instrumentation

Skills - The student can

  • start planning incoherent scatter radar experiments
  • interpret spectral signatures evaluate measurement errors
  • start operating an IS radar interpret data from auxiliary instrumentation

General expertise - The student can

  • discuss the applicability of various instruments for space research
  • discuss and communicate basic radar fundamentals

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 40 hours Project work/seminars: 40 hours The course will be taught through a combination of instruction and practical exercises and may include fieldwork at the major observational sites in northern Norway.


Oral examination counting 100 %. Assessment scale: Letter grades A-F. Re-sit examination (section 22): There is no access to a re-sit examination in this course. Postponed examination (sections 17 and 21): Students with valid grounds for absence will be offered a postponed examination during the semester if possible, otherwise early in the following semester. See indicated sections in Regulations for examinations at the UiT The arctic university of Norway for more information.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: FYS-3002