Running PILOT: operational challenges and plans for an Antarctic Observatory

McGrath, Andrew et al., 2008, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II, 7016, 70160G | View on ADS (2008SPIE.7016E..0GM) | Access via DOI


We highlight the operational challenges and planned solutions faced by an optical observatory taking advantage of the superior astronomical observing potential of the Antarctic plateau. Unique operational aspects of an Antarctic optical observatory arise from its remoteness, the polar environment and the unusual observing cycle afforded by long continuous periods of darkness and daylight. PILOT is planned to be run with remote observing via satellite communications, and must overcome both limited physical access and data transfer. Commissioning and lifetime operations must deal with extended logistics chains, continual wintertime darkness, extremely low temperatures and frost accumulation amidst other challenging issues considered in the PILOT operational plan, and discussed in this presentation.

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