Intriguing aspects of F-region plasma irregularities revealed by the Gadanki radar observations during the SAFAR campaign
Intriguing new results of F-region irregularities observed using the Gadanki MST radar during the SAFAR campaigns, which were conducted during the equinox and summer of 2008 that corresponds to low solar activity condition, are presented. The summer observations are first of its kind from Gadanki. Observations revealed remarkably different morphology of the F-region irregularities in summer when compared to that in equinox. In summer, the F-region irregularities were observed as horizontally stratified structures, while in equinox they were observed as plume structures. Further, the irregularities in summer commenced during the post-midnight hours in contrast to their commencement in the post-sunset hours and occurrence extending to post-midnight hours in equinox. In addition, an intriguing observation of the summer time irregularities is that they occurred when the background electron density was remarkably low as characterized by the disappearance of the F layer trace in the ionograms. An interesting event of equinox that was observed for 10 h and extended beyond the sunrise time displayed multiple plume structures having periods similar to those of the E-region velocity variations. These observations are discussed with due focus on the genesis of post-midnight F-region irregularities and their possible linkage to the E-region dynamics.