Publication
Status of the first Antarctic survey telescopes for Dome A

Li, Zhengyang et al., 2012, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes IV, 8444, 84441O | View on ADS (2012SPIE.8444E..1OL) | Access via DOI

Abstract

The preliminary site testing carried out since the beginning of 2008 shows the Antarctic Dome A is very likely to be the best astronomical site on earth even better than Dome C and suitable for observations ranging from optical wavelength to infrared and sub-millimeter. After the Chinese Small Telescope Array (CSTAR) which is composed of four small fixed telescopes with diameter of 145mm and mounted on Dome A in 2008 for site testing and variable star monitor, three Antarctic Survey Telescopes (AST3) were proposed for observations of supernovas and extrasolar planets searching. AST3 is composed of 3 large field of view catadioptric telescopes with 500mm entrance diameter and G, R, I filter for each. The telescopes can point and track autonomously along with a light and foldable dome to keep the snow and icing build up. A precise auto-focusing mechanism is designed to make the telescope work at the right focus under large temperature difference. The control and tracking components and assembly were successfully tested at from normal temperature down to -80 Celsius degree. Testing observations of the first AST3 showed it can deliver good and uniform images over the field of 8 square degrees. The first telescope was successfully mounted on Dome A in Jan. 2012 and the automatic observations were started from Mar. 2012.

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