TIGER is part of an international network of similar HF radars called SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) with over 30 radars operated by around 15 nations to provide simultaneous coverage of both southern and northern polar regions.

TIGER is supported by a consortium of institutions: La Trobe University, University of Newcastle and Adelaide University. Previous members of the TIGER consortium include ISR Division DSTG, Australian Antarctic Division and IPS Radio and Space Services.

Funding has been received from Australian Research Council, Australian Antarctic Science, Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing, British Antarctic Survey, USAF Office of Scientific Research and RLM Systems Pty Ltd.

The engineering team research lies in the area of hardware and software and is responsible for the development of a state of the art digital FPGA based, reconfigurable radar platform currently utilized by the Buckland Park radar in Adelaide.

Research areas include: FPGA processing, signal processing, phased arrays and antenna design, high power RF and EMC design. The department strongly collaborates with the Space Science group in the Department of Physics and has research ties with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG), University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle, Virginia Polytechnic University, Dartmouth College, University of Alaska, University of Leicester and University of Saskatchewan.

Visit the page introduction to TIGER radars for more information.

What we are observing

TIGER explores the impact of solar disturbances on Earth by monitoring the location of aurora and related phenomena occurring in the ionosphere - 100 to 300km above the Earth.

It consists of three radars located in Adelaide, Tasmania and New Zealand, with beams that intersect and explore an area half the size of Australia. The radars direct HF radio signals via the ionosphere towards Antarctica and detect weak echoes from structures in the ionosphere. These echoes are used to form images of the ionosphere structures and measure their speed and direction of motion.

The radars also detect echoes from meteors which are used to calculate wind speeds at heights of around 100km. Signals scattered from the sea are also detected and methods of deducing the sea-state from these signals are being developed.

Results from the operation of TIGER include greater knowledge of space physics and space weather processes which is required to improve management of radio communications and navigation systems such as GPS. It also has relevance to satellite operations and magnetic surveying for minerals and electricity supplies.

When the sun's corona ejects huge amounts of matter that reach the Earth, there are rapid changes in the wind speed and temperature in the ionosphere as well as the magnetosphere - that region where the Earth's magnetic field interacts with the solar wind.

Auroras are caused by electrons striking molecules and atoms after entering the Earth's atmosphere near the poles. The location of aurora can move 500 km in less than a minute during magnetic storms and can disrupt communication and navigation systems. TIGER monitors such storms and can provide real-time data on space weather storms.