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Snodar: An acoustic radar for atmospheric tur-bulence profiling with 1m resolution

Summary: Snodar: An acoustic radar for atmospheric tur-
bulence profiling with 1m resolution
C. S. Bonner1, M. C. B. Ashley1, J. S. Lawrence1,2,3, D. M. Luong-Van1, J. W. V. Storey1
1 School of Physics, The University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia
2 Department of Physics and Engineering, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
3 Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710, Australia
ABSTRACT: Snodar is a 5 kHz monostatic acoustic radar designed to measure the atmospheric turbulence within the first 200 m of the
atmosphere with a vertical resolution of 1 m. An in situ calibration target is used to give absolute intensity calibration. The primary moti-
vation for building Snodar is to quantify the site conditions for a future astronomical observatory in Antarctica. Two Snodar instruments
are operating at Dome A, Antarctica, during 2009 as part of the completely robotic "PLATO" facility. The instruments are separated
by 20 m and sample from 8 m to 200 m with a resolution of 1 m allowing the spatial and temporal characteristics of the atmospheric
boundary layer to be investigated. We present here the acoustic design of Snodar and example data demonstrating the performance of the
Optical observations of astronomical objects made from
ground-based observatories are hampered by the Earth's at-
mosphere. This is primarily due to turbulent mixing within
the atmosphere causing temperature fluctuations, and hence
variations in the refractive index, resulting in "optical turbu-


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


Collections: Physics