Toward a large telescope facility for submm/FIR astronomy at Dome C

Durand, Gilles Alphonse et al., 2008, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes II, 7012, 70122B | View on ADS (2008SPIE.7012E..2BD) | Access via DOI


Submillimetre astronomy is the prime technique to unveil the birth and early evolution of stars and galaxies in the local and distant Universe. Preliminary meteorological studies and atmospheric transmission models tend to demonstrate that Dome C might offer atmosphere conditions that open the 200-μm atmospheric windows, and could potentially be a site for a large ground-based telescope facility. However, Antarctic climate conditions might also severely impact and deform any telescope mirror and hardware. We present prerequisite conditions and their associate experiments for defining a large telescope facility for submillimetre astronomy at Dome C: (1) Whether the submm/THz atmospheric windows open from 200 μm during a large and stable fraction of time; (2) The knowledge of thermal gradient and (3) icing formation and their impact on a telescope mirror and hardware. This paper will present preliminary results on current experiments that measure icing, thermal gradient and sky opacity at Dome C. We finally discuss a possible roadmap toward the deployment of a large telescope facility at Dome C.

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