Lasers, radar and rockets: The recipe for an ideal conference

By on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Are you a fan of the Northern lights? Maybe you’re a rocket connoisseur!

Then the International Workshop on Layered Phenomena in the Mesopause Region (LPMR) is perfect for you. This was the 13th installation of the workshop and it took place from the 18th – 22nd September in the seaside resort of Kühlungsborn, Germany.

The topics discussed in the poster and talk sessions ranged from observations of the upper atmosphere using radar, satellite and lidar to direct measurements using spectrometer installed rockets and modelled aspects of the upper atmosphere such as gravity waves and metal layers.

The rocket talks were particularly interesting as you learn about the high-risk factor associated with each measurement, with each launch costing more than 1 million euro (and thanks to Brexit, close to the same amount in pounds). A citizen science group from the United States known as Project POSSUM showcased their high altitude flights to observe noctilucent clouds. These clouds occur at altitudes of ~80 km and are potential indicators of climate change (as well as looking amazing in a time-lapse).

On Wednesday, a tour was made to the Doberan Minster (a highly renown Lutheran Church in the Meckleburg state) in the town of Bad Doberan as well as a tour around the historical city of Rostock (founded in 1218 and celebrating its 800th anniversary next year). The city is home to one of the world’s oldest universities, the University of Rostock, founded in 1419.

Doberan Minster (Lutheran Church) in Bad Doberan

On Thursday, we were treated to a balloon launch used to measure atmospheric turbulence. Footage of the launch is linked below:

The video may portray the launch as a success but the balloons popped shortly after and the instrument crashed into the forest a few meters away. It did work a week later. I’m sorry science doesn’t always satisfy your high standards.

Overall, the conference was very enjoyable, with plenty of interesting results and even more questions as a result.