Science Goals for Antarctic Infrared Telescopes

Burton, Michael G., Storey, John W. V. & Ashley, Michael C. B., 2001, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 18, 158 | View on ADS (2001PASA...18..158B) | Access via DOI


Over the past few years, site-testing at the South Pole has revealed conditions that are uniquely favourable for infrared astronomy. In particular, the exceptionally low sky brightness throughout the near-and mid-infrared leads to the possibility of a modest-sized telescope achieving comparable sensitivity to that of existing 8-10 metre class telescopes. An 8 metre Antarctic telescope, if constructed, would yield performance that would be unrivalled until the advent of the NGST. In this paper we review the scientific potential of infrared telescopes in Antarctica, and discuss their complementarity with existing 8-10 metre class telescopes and future proposed space telescopes. In particular, we discuss the role that a 2 metre class infrared telescope plays in future plans for the development of an observatory on the Antarctic plateau.

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