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Overcoming the Boundary Layer Turbulence at Dome C: Ground-Layer Adaptive Optics versus Tower
 

Summary: Overcoming the Boundary Layer Turbulence at Dome C:
Ground-Layer Adaptive Optics versus Tower
T. TRAVOUILLON
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125; tonyt@caltes ch.edu
L. JOLISSAINT
Observatory of Leiden, Leiden 2333, The Netherlands
AND
M. C. B. ASHLEY, J. S. LAWRENCE, AND J. W. V. STOREY
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Received 2008 December 15; accepted 2009 April 24; published 2009 May 22
ABSTRACT. The unique atmospheric conditions present at sites such as Dome C on the Antarctic plateau are
very favorable for high spatial resolution astronomy. At Dome C, the majority of the optical turbulence is confined to
a 30 to 40 m thick stable boundary layer that results from the strong temperature inversion created by the heat
exchange between the air and the ice-covered ground. To fully realize the potential of the exceptionally calm free
atmosphere, this boundary layer must be overcome. In this article we compare the performance of two methods
proposed to beat the boundary layer: mounting a telescope on a tower that physically puts it above the turbulent
layer, and installing a telescope at ground level with a ground-layer adaptive optics system. A case is also made to
combine these two methods to further improve the image quality.
1. INTRODUCTION
Dome C is currently the most promising site worldwide

  

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

 

Collections: Physics