Development of the Automatic Seeing Monitor for the Site Testing of Dome A

Pei, Chong et al., 2012, Chinese Astronomy and Astrophysics, 36, 327 | View on ADS (2012ChA&A..36..327P) | Access via DOI


The Antarctic site-testing campaigns have shown that Dome C is an excellent astronomical site on the earth, it is better than any of existing mid-latitude astronomical sites in the world, because of its cold and dry weather, low infrared background radiation, continuously observable time as long as 3-4 months, clear and highly transparent atmosphere, low wind speed, and the absence of dust and light pollution. And in the international astronomical community it is generally believed that Dome A with a higher altitude may be better than Dome C as a potential excellent astronomical site. In the past 3 years, although held by the Center for Antarctic Astronomy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the site testing at Dome A has preliminarily confirmed the many advantages of Dome A as an excellent astronomical site, but the data about the atmospheric seeing, which is an important parameter for assessing the site quality for optical observations, have not been obtained until now. Hence, on the basis of a commercial telescope with the diameter of 35 cm, we have made the hardware reformation and software development to have it operate as a DIMM (Differential Image Motion Monitor), which can simultaneously monitor both the seeing and isoplanatic angle at Dome A automatically. At present this instrument has been shipped to Antarctica by the "Xuelong" exploration ship, and will be installed at Dome A, and begin to work in early 2011. Before the shipment, by through the comparative measurements together with an existing seeing monitor at the Xinglong astronomical station, the software, hardware, as well as the installation and adjustment of the instrument, are further verified by testing.

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