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Adaptive Optics Sky Coverage for Dome C Telescopes J. S. LAWRENCE, M. C. B. ASHLEY, AND J. W. V. STOREY
 

Summary: Adaptive Optics Sky Coverage for Dome C Telescopes
J. S. LAWRENCE, M. C. B. ASHLEY, AND J. W. V. STOREY
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; jl@phys.unsw.edu.au
L. JOLISSAINT
Observatory of Leiden, Leiden 2333, The Netherlands
AND
T. TRAVOUILLON
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Received 2008 June 18; accepted 2008 September 03; published 2008 September 30
ABSTRACT. The unique atmospheric characteristics found at Dome C on the Antarctic plateau offer significant
advantages for the operation of adaptive optics systems. An analysis is presented here comparing the performance of
adaptive optics systems on telescopes located at Dome C with similar systems located at a mid-latitude site. The
large coherence length, wide isoplanatic angle, and long coherence time of the Dome C atmosphere allow an adap-
tive optics system located there to correct to high order, observe over wide fields and use faint guide stars, resulting
in a lower total wavefront error and a significant increase in sky coverage factor than can be achieved at a typical
mid-latitude site. While the same performance could in principle be achievable at mid-latitude sites, this would only
occur under exceptionally stable atmospheric conditions that are likely to occur on only a few nights per year.
1. INTRODUCTION
The Earth's turbulent atmosphere limits the spatial resolving
power of ground-based telescopes. Current and proposed large

  

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

 

Collections: Physics