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Observations of the Antarctic infrared sky spectral brightness Jon S. Lawrence*, Michael C. B. Ashley, Michael G. Burton, and John W.V. Storey
 

Summary: Observations of the Antarctic infrared sky spectral brightness
Jon S. Lawrence*, Michael C. B. Ashley, Michael G. Burton, and John W.V. Storey
School of Physics, University of New South Wales
ABSTRACT
An important parameter that defines the effectiveness and efficiency of any optical or infrared sky survey is the
atmospheric character of the observing site. Of prime importance is the sky spectral brightness, which determines the
sensitivities and the observing time required to complete a particular survey. This paper presents observations of the
near-infrared sky spectral brightness measured at the South Pole throughout the 2001 winter with an automated
instrument, the Near Infrared Sky Monitor (NISM). Results from the NISM confirm that the South Pole sky spectral
brightness is up to two orders of magnitude lower than at any other ground-based site, consistent with previous
observations. These results indicate that the Antarctic plateau is an ideal place to site a future infrared sky survey
telescope.
Keywords: Antarctic astronomy, site-testing, radiative transfer, atmospheric effects
1. INTRODUCTION
An extensive site-testing campaign has been conducted at the South Pole over the last decade in order to determine the
applicability of the Antarctic atmosphere for astronomical observations. Instrumentation has been designed to measure
the infrared sky background, the atmospheric turbulence profiles, and the sub-millimetre opacity. These experiments
have shown that the sky spectral brightness in the near1
and mid2
infrared is significantly lower than observed at any

  

Source: Ashley, Michael C. B. - School of Physics, University of New South Wales

 

Collections: Physics