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Opportunities for Terahertz Facilities on the High Plateau

Abstract

While the summit of the Antarctic Plateau has long been expected to harbor the best ground-based sites for terahertz (THz) frequency astronomical investigations, it is only recently that direct observations of exceptional THz atmospheric transmission and stability have been obtained. These observations, in combination with recent technological advancements in astronomical instrumentation and autonomous field platforms, make the recognition and realization of terahertz observatories on the high plateau feasible and timely. Here, we will explore the context of terahertz astronomy in the era of Herschel, and the crucial role that observatories on the Antarctic Plateau can play. We explore the important scientific questions to which observations from this unique environment may be most productively applied. We examine the importance and complementarity of Antarctic THz astronomy in the light of contemporary facilities such as ALMA, CCAT, SOFIA and (U)LDB ballooning. Finally, building from the roots of THz facilities in Antarctica to present efforts, we broadly highlight future facilities that will exploit the unique advantages of the Polar Plateau and provide a meaningful, lasting astrophysical legacy.

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References

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