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The best site on Earth?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

W. Saunders
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, USA
J.S. Lawrence
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, USA
J.W.V. Storey
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, USA
M.C.B. Ashley
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, USA
S. Kato
Affiliation:
NASA Langley Research Center, USA
P. Minnis
Affiliation:
Space Sciences Lab., University of California Berkeley, USA
D.M. Winker
Affiliation:
Space Sciences Lab., University of California Berkeley, USA
G. Liu
Affiliation:
Space Sciences Lab., University of California Berkeley, USA
C. Kulesa
Affiliation:
Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, USA
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Abstract

We compare the merits of potential observatory sites on the Antarctic Plateau, in regard to the boundary layer, cloud cover, free atmosphere seeing, aurorae, airglow, and precipitable water vapour. We find that (a) all Antarctic sites are likely compromised for optical work by airglow and aurorae; (b) Dome A is the best existing site in almost all respects; (c) there is an even better site (“Ridge A”) 150 kms SW of Dome A; (d) Dome F is a remarkably good site except for aurorae; (e) Dome C probably has the least cloud cover of any of the sites, and might be able to use a predicted `OH hole' in the Spring.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2010

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