Publication
Optical sky brightness at Dome A, Antarctica, from the Nigel experiment

Sims, Geoff et al., 2010, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III, 7733, 77334M | View on ADS (2010SPIE.7733E..4MS) | Access via DOI

Abstract

Nigel is a fiber-fed UV/visible grating spectrograph with a thermoelectrically-cooled 256×1024 pixel CCD camera, designed to measure the twilight and night sky brightness from 300nm to 850 nm. Nigel has three pairs of fibers, each with a field-of-view with an angular diameter of 25 degrees, pointing in three fixed positions towards the sky. The bare fibers are exposed to the sky with no additional optics. The instrument was deployed at Dome A, Antarctica in January 2009 as part of the PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) robotic observatory. During the 2009 winter, Nigel made approximately six months of continuous observations of the sky, with typically 104 deadtime between exposures. The resulting spectra provide quantitative information on the sky brightness, the auroral contribution, and the water vapour content of the atmosphere. We present details of the design, construction and calibration of the Nigel spectrometer, as well some sample spectra from a preliminary analysis.

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