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High on a cold Antarctic plateau



Astronomers determine the best telescope location on Earth: High on a cold Antarctic plateau

According to new research by an international team from the University of China, Australia and British Columbia, the highest ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau at night could offer the clearest view of the stars on Earth. Credit: Zhaohui Shang

according to a new study by an international team from the University of China, Australia and British Columbia (UBC) could be the clearest stellar view of the stars at night. The challenge? The place is one of the coldest and most remote places on Earth. The findings were announced today nature.

“The telescope in Dome A could surpass a similar telescope in any other astronomical location on the planet,”

; said UBC astronomer Paul Hickson, co-author of the study. “High altitudes, low temperatures, long periods of continuous darkness and a particularly stable atmosphere make the Dome A a very attractive place for optical and infrared astronomy. The telescope in it would have brighter images and be able to detect weaker objects.”

One of the biggest challenges in Earth astronomy is overcoming the effects of atmospheric turmoil on telescope image quality. Because of this turmoil, the stars flicker, and the measurement of its effects is called “vision.” The less turbulence (the lower the visible number), the better.

“The thinner edge layer at the D-dome makes it difficult to position the telescope above it, giving more access to the free atmosphere,” said UBC astronomer Bin Ma, lead author of the book.

Currently, the best-performing observatories are in the highlands near the equator (Chile and Hawaii) and offer to see them in 0.6 to 0.8 horseconds. In general, Antarctica can be seen better because of the weaker turbulence in the open atmosphere. The calculated range is from 0.23 to 0.36 horsepower per second at a location called the Dome.

Astronomers determine the best telescope location on Earth: High on a cold Antarctic plateau

According to new research by an international team from the University of China, Australia and British Columbia, the highest ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau at night could offer the clearest view of the stars on Earth. Credit: Zhaohui Shang

Ma, Hickson and colleagues in China and Australia rated a different location, Dome A – also known as Dome Argus. Dome A is located near the center of East Antartica, 1,200 kilometers inland.

The researchers calculated that the boundary layer of the terrain (the lowest part of the atmosphere affected by friction from the Earth’s surface) is thinner than the Dome C. Previous measurements from the Dome A were made during the day, but the authors report an average night vision of 0.31 arcseconds. , 13 arc seconds.

Measurements taken from dome A at an altitude of eight meters were much better than those of the same height at Dome C and comparable to those at 20 meters high at Dome C.

Not surprisingly, the viewership of researchers’ equipment has also been hampered by the cold, which will increase visibility by 10 to 12 percent. But, according to Ma, the site promises a promise.

“Our telescope observed the sky at a drone station in Antarctica fully automatically for seven months, with air temperatures sometimes dropping to -75 ° C. That in itself is a technological breakthrough.”


Effects of stove, dome and umbrella atmospheric aerosol in the boundary layer of planets


More information:
Ma, B., Shang, Z., Hu, Y. and others. Night astronomical vision measurements at Dome A, Antarctica. nature 583, 771–774 (2020). doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2489-0

Submitted by British Columbia University



Citation: Astronomers determine best location for telescope on Earth: High on a cold Antarctic plateau (July 29, 2020). July 29 From https://phys.org/news/2020-07-astronomers-earth-telescope-high -frigid.html

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