European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association
Kiritimati - Christmas Island
+1° 45' 56.63", -157° 12' 2.55"
Kiritimati photographed from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Some confusion over Christmas Island

While searching for the EISCAT Station supposed to be on Christmas Island we found that there are in fact two islands with that name.

The Antennas are on Kiritimati (Christmas) Island

From a list of stations around the world...
List of sampled CEDAR ground-based component of TIMED

...we find Christmas Island given Lat 2.0  Long -158.0. This puts us into the ocean near the island. It is also strange to note that there is a ghost outline image of this island halfway between the above coordinates and the image of the island. So far we have not been able to spot the antenna facility on the island. However the list below gives us many new places to look for network components
CXI Radar, Kiritimati
Cassidy International Airport – Kiritimati (Christmas Island)

List of sampled CEDAR ground-based component of TIMED

Location and/or station name
Geographic Latitude
Geographic Longitude
South Pole -90.0 (used model latitude -87.5) 0.0
Scott Base -78.0 167.0
Syowa -69.0 40.0
Davis -68.6 78.0
Rothera -67.57 68.12
Adelaide -35. 138.
Rarotonga -21.21 -159.77
Jicamarca -11.95 -76.0
Ascension -7.95 -14.37
Jakarta -6.0 107.0
Pontianak -0.3 109.0
Christmas Island 2.0 -158.0
Tirunelveli 8.7 77.8
Arecibo 18.3 -66.8
Maui 20.75 -156.24
Kauai 22.0 -159.3
Yamagawa 31.2 130.6
Socorro 34.07 -106.92
Shigaraki 34.8 136.1
Urbana 40.07 -88.0
Platteville 40.18 -104.7
Fort Collins 40.59 -105.14
Bear Lake 41.93 -111.42
Millstone Hill 42.6 -71.5
London (Canada) 43.0 -83.0
Durham 43.12 -70.94
Wakkanai 45.4 141.7
Kharkov 50.0 36.2
Sheffield 52.0 1.0
Saskatoon 52.21 -107.12
Irkutsk 52.85 103.1
Juliusruh 54.0 13.0
Obninsk 55.0 37.0
Kazan 56.0 49.0
Poker Flat 65.0 -147.0
Søndre Strømfjord 67.0 -51.0
EISCAT (Sodankylä) 67.4 26.6
EISCAT (Kiruna) 67.9 20.4
Esrange 68.0 21.0
Andenes and Alomar 69.0 16.0
EISCAT (Tromsø) 69.6 19.2
Dixon Island 72.0 80.0
Resolute Bay 75.0 -95.0
EISCAT (Svalbard) 78.0 15.0
Eureka 80.22 -86.18

Developed by Jens Oberheide (jenso@ucar.edu): 19 December 2002
Last update by Jens Oberheide: 19 January 2003
Copyright 2002, NCAR
Christmas Island (Now Kiritimati)
A Handley Page Hastings (TG 582) flying over London, Christmas Island (now Kiritimati), Line Islands, at the time of the British H Bomb test. A scanned photograph of the author's personal photo collection. August 1956. The photograph was taken by Dennis Hobbs, the Navigator of the plane TG582

Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a Pacific Ocean atoll in the northern Line Islands and part of the Republic of Kiribati. Nuclear tests were conducted on the island by the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. During these tests islanders were not evacuated. Subsequently British servicemen as well as local islanders have claimed to have suffered from exposure to the radiation from these blasts.

Kiritimati was discovered by Captain James Cook on Christmas Eve (December 24), 1777. It was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856, though little actual mining of guano took place. This claim was formally ceded by the Treaty of Tarawa between US and Kiribati, signed in 1979 and ratified in 1983. Permanent settlement started by 1882, mainly by workers in coconut plantations and fishermen, but due to an extreme drought which killed off tens of thousands of Coconut Palms – about 75% of Kiritimati's population of this plant – the island was once again abandoned between 1905 and 1912.[1]
View from Handley Page Hastings flying over London in 1956, during the nuclear testing period.
Bridges Point is at the central upper margin.

Many of the toponyms in the island go back to Father Emmanuel Rougier, a French priest who leased the island from 1917 to 1939 and planted some 800,000 coconut trees there. He lived in his Paris house (now only small ruins) located at Benson Point, across the Burgle Channel from Londres (today London) at Bridges Point where he established the port.

In World War II, Kiritimati was occupied by the Allies, and the first airstrip was constructed then,[1] for servicing the US Army Air Force weather station communications center. The airstrip also provided rest and refueling facilities for planes traveling between Hawaii and the South Pacific. There was also a small civilian radio-meteorological research station.

Map of Kiritimati Island, Kiribati Credit: U of Texas

During the Cold War there was some nuclear testing in the Kiritimati area. The British supposedly conducted their first successful hydrogen bomb test at Malden Island on May 15 1957; Kiritimati was the operation's main base. In fact, this test was a failure, and the first British H-bomb was successfully detonated over the southeastern tip of Kiritimati on November 8, 1957. Subsequent test series in 1958 (Grapple Y and Z) took place above or near Kiritimati itself. The United States conducted 22 successful nuclear detonations as part of Operation Dominic here in 1962. Some toponyms (like Banana and Main Camp) come from the nuclear testing period, during which at times over 4,000 servicemen were present. By 1969, military interest in Kiritimati had ceased and the facilities were abandoned and for the most part dismantled. Some communications, transport and logistics facilities, however, were converted for civilian use and it is due to these installations that Kiritimati came to serve as the administrative center for the Line Islands.[1]

The United Kingdom detonated some 5 megatons of nuclear payload near and 1.8 megatons directly above Kiritimati in 1957/58, while the United States between 25 April and 11 July 1962 successfully tested nuclear devices of about 24 megatons payload altogether in the vicinity of the island. During the British Grapple X test of November 8, 1957, which took place directly above the southeastern tip of Kiritimati, yield was stronger than expected and there was some blast damage in the settlements. Islanders were usually not evacuated during the nuclear testing, and data on the environmental and public health impact of these tests remains contested.

SOURCE: Wikipedia Kiritimati

See Also:

British nuclear tests at Kiritimati - Christmas Island
  1. In the early 1950s, Wernher von Braun proposed using this island as a launch site for manned spacecraft. 
  2. There is a Japanese JAXA satellite tracking station; the abandoned Aeon Field had at one time been proposed for reuse by the Japanese for their now canceled HOPE-X space shuttle project. 
  3. Kiritimati is also located fairly close to the Sea Launch satellite launching spot at 0° N 154° W, about 370 km (200 nautical miles) to the east in international waters.
  4. Shipping to the Island: Military Air Cargo – 2 C130s or 1 C-17. Planned arrival: 25th  - 27th July, NSF/NCAR C-130 will be there on 2nd August. Set up crew of 5 to fly with cargo plane. Loading at Buckley AFB in Colorado

Sea Launch satellite launching off Kiritimati Island
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