Exceptional astronomical seeing conditions above Dome C in Antarctica

  title={Exceptional astronomical seeing conditions above Dome C in Antarctica},
  author={Jonathan S. Lawrence and Michael C. B. Ashley and Andrei Tokovinin and Tony Travouillon},
One of the most important considerations when planning the next generation of ground-based optical astronomical telescopes is to choose a site that has excellent ‘seeing’—the jitter in the apparent position of a star that is caused by light bending as it passes through regions of differing refractive index in the Earth's atmosphere. The best mid-latitude sites have a median seeing ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 arcsec (refs 1–5). Sites on the Antarctic plateau have unique atmospheric properties that… 

Night-time measurements of astronomical seeing at Dome A in Antarctica

The seeing and boundary-layer thickness are found to be strongly correlated with the near-surface temperature gradient, and the correlation confirms a median thickness of approximately 14 metres for the boundary layer at Dome A, as found from a sonic radar.

Astronomical seeing and ground-layer turbulence in the Canadian High Arctic

We report results of a two-year campaign of measurements, during arctic winter darkness, of optical turbulence in the atmospheric boundary-layer above the Polar Environment Atmospheric Laboratory in

Excellent daytime seeing at Dome Fuji on the Antarctic plateau

Context. Dome Fuji, the second highest region on the Antarctic plateau, is expected to have some of the best astronomical seeing on Earth. However, site testing at Dome Fuji is still in its very

Mesoscale optical turbulence simulations at Dome C

In recent years, ground-based astronomy has been looking towards Antarctica, especially its summits and the internal continental plateau, where the optical turbulence appears to be confined in a

The PLATO Antarctic site testing observatory

Over a decade of site testing in Antarctica has shown that both South Pole and Dome C are exceptional sites for astronomy, with certain atmospheric conditions superior to those at existing

Meso-Nh simulations of the atmospheric flow above the Internal Antarctic Plateau

Mesoscale model such as Meso-Nh have proven to be highly reliable in reproducing 3D maps of optical turbulence (see Refs. 1, 2, 3, 4) above mid-latitude astronomical sites. These last years

Astronomy from Antarctica

Astronomers have always sought the very best locations for their telescopes. From observatories in city centres, astronomers moved first to nearby mountain tops, then to remote sites in distant

Observations of Earth space by self-powered stations in Antarctica.

In the second phase of the project, a power generation system using renewable energy that can operate automatically in the Antarctic winter is developed and deployed and demonstrated a high degree of reliability in several years of operation in spite of the relative unpredictability of the Antarctic environment.

Atmospheric Scintillation at Dome C, Antarctica: Implications for Photometryand Astrometry

We present low‐resolution turbulence profiles of the atmosphere above Dome C, Antarctica, measured with the MASS instrument during 25 nights in 2004 March–May. Except for the lowest layer, Dome C has

Solar Astrophysics, Interferometry, and Coronagraphy at Dome C/Concordia

Excellent seeing, coronal conditions, and very low IR thermal background are qualities of the Dome C/Concordia station site that will allow unique solar astrophysics science. We review the science



Measurement of optical seeing on the high antarctic plateau

Results from the 1995 season of site-testing experiments at the South Pole are presented, in which the seeing was measured using balloon-borne microthermal probes. Our analysis shows a marked

Infrared and Submillimeter Atmospheric Characteristics of High Antarctic Plateau Sites

The best ground‐based astronomical sites in terms of telescope sensitivity at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths are located on the Antarctic Plateau, where high atmospheric transparency and low


Seeing, the degradation of resolution due to the earth's atmosphere, is a crucial factor in determining the performance of ground-based telescopes. This degradation is predominantly the result of

Astronomical seeing from the summits of the Antarctic plateau

  • R. Marks
  • Physics, Environmental Science
  • 2002
From the South Pole, microthermal turbulence within a narrow surface boundary layer some 200 m thick provides the dominant contribution to the astronomical seeing. We present results for the seeing

Atmospheric turbulence at the South Pole and its implications for astronomy

To investigate the low-atmosphere turbulence at the South Pole, we have measured, using a SODAR, the temperature fluctuation constant (C 2 ) during winter, as a function of altitude up to 890 m. We


To observe the faintest objects in the Universe astronomers require the darkest skies. In the infrared, sensitivities are limited by the thermal emission from the atmosphere and the telescope. By

Night-time image quality at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory

Nine months' seeing statistics at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) are presented. Measurements were taken with a differential image motion monitor on top of a 5-m high tower. From

Statistics of turbulence profile at Cerro Tololo

Results of 3-month continuous monitoring of turbulence profile and seeing at Cerro Tololo (Chile) in May-July 2002 are presented. Some 28000 low-resolution profiles were measured by a new MASS

Antarctic site testing: First daytime seeing monitoring at Dome C

The first astronomical seeing monitoring has been made with a DIMM instrument at the Antarctic plateau site of Dome C in December, 2002 on the bright star Canopus ( α Eri) during the daytime. In

Mid-Infrared Observing Conditions at the South Pole

Measurements of the mid-infrared sky brightness at the South Pole throughout the winter of 1998 show that the sky background is extremely low and stable. For 50% of the time, the flux in the 8.78 to