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High on a cold Antarctic plateau



Astronomers will determine the best place on Earth for the telescope: High on a cold Antarctic plateau

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

Oh, according to a survey by an international team from China, Australia and the University of British Columbia (UBC), it could offer the clearest view of the stars at night. Challenge? The location is one of the coldest and most remote places on Earth. The findings were published today in 2007 nature.

“The telescope in Dome A could surpass a similar telescope located anywhere else on the planet,”

; said UBC astronomer Paul Hickson, co-author of the study. “The combination of high altitude, low temperature, long periods of continuous darkness and an extremely stable atmosphere makes Dome A a very attractive place for optical and infrared astronomy. The telescope located there would have a sharper image and could detect fainter objects. “

One of the biggest challenges in astronomy on Earth is overcoming the impact of atmospheric turbulence on the image quality of the telescope. This turbulence causes the stars to flash, and the measurement of its impact is called “vision.” The less turbulence (the lower the visible number), the better.

“The thinner boundary layer in dome A makes it so difficult to place a telescope above it, thus providing greater access to the open atmosphere,” said UBC astronomer Bin Ma, lead author of the book.

Currently, the most powerful observatories are located at high positions along the equator (Chile and Hawai’i) and offer observations ranging from 0.6 to 0.8 seconds. In general, Antarctica has better visibility due to weaker turbulence in the open atmosphere with an estimated range of 0.23 to 0.36 seconds in a place called Dome C.

Astronomers will determine the best place on Earth for the telescope: High on a cold Antarctic plateau

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

Ma, Hickson and colleagues in China and Australia rated another place, Dome A – also known as Dome Argus. Dome A is located near the center of East Antarctica, 1200 km inland.

Scientists have estimated that the site has a thinner boundary layer (the lowest part of the atmosphere affected by friction from the earth’s surface) than Dome C. Previous measurements from Dome A were made during the day, but the authors report a median night vision of 0.31 seconds, reaching only 0 , 13 seconds.

Measurements from Dome A, measured at a height of 8 meters, were much better than measurements from the same height in House C and comparable to measurements at a height of 20 meters in House C.

Not surprisingly, the ability to view researchers’ facilities has also been hampered by frost – overcoming the problem could improve vision by 10 to 12 percent. According to Ma.

“Our telescope observed the sky completely automatically at an unmanned station in Antarctica for seven months, with the air temperature occasionally dropping to -75 ° C. It’s a technological breakthrough in itself.”


Stove, dome, and umbrella effects of an atmospheric aerosol in the planet’s boundary layer


More information:
Ma, B., Shang, Z., Hu, Y. et al. Night measurements of astronomical vision in House A in Antarctica. nature 583, 771-774 (2020). doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2489-0

Provided by the University of British Columbia



Citations: Astronomers have identified the telescope as the best place on Earth: High on the cold Antarctic plateau (2020, July 29), obtained on July 29, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-astronomers-earth-telescope- high -frigid.html

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