The PLATO observatory: robotic astronomy from the Antarctic plateau

Ashley, M. C. B. et al., 2010, Highlights of Astronomy, 15, 627 | View on ADS (2010HiA....15..627A) | Access via DOI


PLATO is a 6 tonne completely self-contained robotic observatory that provides its own heat, electricity, and satellite communications. It was deployed to Dome A in Antarctica in January 2008 by the Chinese expedition team, and is now in its second year of operation. PLATO is operating four 14.5cm optical telescopes with 1k × 1k CCDs, a wide-field sky camera with a 2k × 2k CCD and Sloan g, r, i filters, a fibre-fed spectrograph to measure the UV to near-IR sky spectrum, a 0.2m terahertz telescope, two sonic radars giving 1m resolution data on the boundary layer to a height of 180m, a 15m tower, meteorological sensors, and 8 web cameras. Beginning in 2010/11 PLATO will be upgraded to support a Multi Aperture Scintillation Sensor and three AST3 0.5m schmidt telescopes, with 10k × 10 CCDs and 100TB/annum data requirements.

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