Alomar Observatory

The Alomar Observatory enables international scientists to explore all layers of the Arctic atmosphere with several lidar instruments from its vantage point on top of the Ramnan mountain at Andøya.

The observatory features an iconic and easily recognizable shape designed to minimize the effects of wind to provide an optimum environment for the lidar instrumentation. The beams can reach over 100 kilometers, and some can be tilted several degrees.

The research performed at Alomar has contributed to a substantial number of scientific papers and theses and supported countless sounding rocket missions. While the sounding rockets ensure the in-situ snapshot of the atmosphere, the instruments at Alomar have provided remote sensing of the same area, giving scientists both a closer look and a broader view at the same time.

The observatory is a part of the European research infrastructure for the observation of aerosol, clouds and trace gases – ACTRIS – a network of stations and platforms working on atmospheric research.

Night photo of the lidar (laser) beams in the distance. City lights.

Current lidar systems

RMR (Rayleigh/Mie/Ramnan), twin lidar 10 – 100 kilometers, wavelengths 1064 / 532 / 355 nm, owned by IAP.

Ozone lidar, looking at the 308 / 353 nm wavelengths in the 8 – 55-kilometer altitude range. Owned by Andøya Space.

Mobile Fe-Lidar, measuring in the altitude regions between 20 – 150 kilometers. It is a doppler lidar focusing on the 772 / 386 nm wavelengths, and it is owned by IAP.

Troposphere lidar, a five-channel aerosol backscatter lidar measuring the altitude region between 500 meters and 18 kilometers. It is looking at the 1064 / 523 and 355 nm wavelengths, and it is owned by Andøya Space.

Sunset, pinkish colored clouds in the background, with a transparent instrument dome in the foreground.

Additional instrumentation

Several passive remote sensing instruments are installed on the large roof of the observatory.

Sun and moon photometer, CIMEL (GOA-UVA)

Spectroradiometer (Brewer) and UV-radiometer (GUV) (NILU)

Imaging riometer, 38.2 MHz, 49 narrow beams (Andøya Space)

Bentham spectrometer 290 – 2000 nm (Andøya Space)

Cloud detector (Andøya Space)

Geomagnetic activity monitors, two magnetometers. (UiT/TGO)

New development

A system to remotely control the observatory and perform lidar measurements has been installed and is going through testing during 2020 – 2021.

More information

For more information, contact Andøya Space Sub-Orbital