Cobber: Looking for Clear Night Skies at Dome C, Antarctica

Dempsey, Jessica T., Storey, John W. & Ashley, Michael C., 2003, IAU Special Session, 2, 18 | View on ADS (2003IAUSS...2E..18D)


COBBER is a prototype cloud observing instrument that has been designed for the rigours of unattended high altitude sites on the Antarctic Plateau such as Dome C and Dome A. A 10-micron thermopile detector looks out through a ZnSe Ar-coated hemispherical lens providing approximately a 30 degree field of view on the sky. Installed in mid-January at Dome C COBBER has been collecting data autonomosly from that time sending its data back twelve times a day via an ARGOS satellite link. These results are presented here. During the remaining daylight hours COBBER's data has been successfully correlated with images from a webcamera installed at the same time at the station. COBBER's measurements of cloud cover over Dome C during the site's unattended winter months will provide the first idea of the site's potential for future astronomical projects.