The Gattini cameras for optical sky brightness measurements in Antarctica

Moore, A. et al., 2006, IAU Special Session, 7, 28 | View on ADS (2006IAUSS...7E..28M)


The Gattini cameras are two site testing instruments for the measurement of optical sky brightness, large area cloud cover and auroral detection of the night sky above the high altitude Dome C site in Antarctica. The cameras have been in operation since January 2006. The cameras are transit in nature and are virtually identical, both adopting Apogee Alta ccd detectors. The camera called Gattini-SBC images a 6 degree field centred on the South Pole, an elevation of 75^o at the Dome C site. The camera takes repeated images of the same 6 degree field in the Sloan g' band (centred on 477nm) and, by adopting a lens with sufficiently long focal length, one can integrate the sky background photons and directly compare to the equivalent values of the stars within the field. The second camera, called Gattini-allsky, incorporates a fish-eye lens and images ~110 degree field centred on local zenith. By taking frequent images of the night sky we will obtain long term cloud cover statistics, measure the sky background intensity as a function of solar and lunar altitude and phase and directly measure the spatial extent of bright aurora if present and when they occur. An overview of the project is presented together with preliminary results from data taken since operation of the cameras in January 2006.