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The Incoherent Scatter Radar is the most powerful ground based
technique for the study of the Earth's ionosphere and its
interactions with the upper atmosphere, the magnetosphere and
the interplanetary medium (solar wind).

Typical Incoherent Scatter radars radiate effective powers
measured in gigawatts, but the returned signals normally
represent only picowatts.

Powerful multi-mega-watt transmitters, large high-gain antennas
(typically at least 1000 m2 in area), sensitive receivers and
sophisticated radar control and data acquisition systems are all
necessary for the sucful detection and evaluation of the weak
incoherent scatter echoes received from the ionosphere.

Incoherent Scatter radar systems provide a wealth of
observational data and are complemented by detailed observations
from balloons, rockets and satellites as well as a wide range of
ground-based instruments including magnetometers, all-sky
cameras, ionosondes and coherent (auroral) backscatter
radars. Incoherent Scatter radars have attracted many such
instruments to their vicinity and will continue to provide the
focus of substantial research efforts for the foreseeable

[Summary provided by the EISCAT Scientific Association]