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The PLATO Dome A Site-Testing Observatory : instrumentation and first results

Yang, H. and Allen, G. and Ashley, M. C. B. and Bonner, C. S. and Bradley, S. and Cui, X. and Everett, J. R. and Feng, L. and Gong, X. and Hengst, S. and Hu, J. and Jiang, Z. and Kulesa, C. A. and Lawrence, J. S. and Li, Y. and Luong-Van, D. and McCaughrean, M. J. and Moore, A. M. and Pennypacker, C. and Qin, W. and Riddle, R. and Shang, Z. and Storey, J. W. V. and Sun, B. and Suntzeff, N. and Tothill, N. F. H. and Travouillon, T. and Walker, C. K. and Wang, L. and Yan, J. and Yang, J. and York, D. and Yuan, X. and Zhang, X. and Zhang, Z. and Zhou, X. and Zhu, Z. (2009) The PLATO Dome A Site-Testing Observatory : instrumentation and first results. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121 (876). pp. 174-184. ISSN 0004-6280. doi:10.1086/597547.

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The PLATeau Observatory (PLATO) is an automated self-powered astrophysical observatory that was deployed to Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, in 2008 January. PLATO consists of a suite of site-testing instruments designed to quantify the benefits of the Dome A site for astronomy, and science instruments designed to take advantage of the unique observing conditions. Instruments include CSTAR, an array of optical telescopes for transient astronomy; Gattini, an instrument to measure the optical sky brightness and cloud cover statistics; DASLE, an experiment to measure the statistics of the meteorological conditions within the near-surface layer; Pre-HEAT, a submillimeter tipping radiometer measuring the atmospheric transmission and water vapor content and performing spectral line imaging of the Galactic plane; and Snodar, an acoustic radar designed to measure turbulence within the near-surface layer. PLATO has run completely unattended and collected data throughout the winter 2008 season. Here we present a detailed description of the PLATO instrument suite and preliminary results obtained from the first season of operation.

Item Type:Article
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Moore, A. M.0000-0002-2894-6936
Riddle, R.0000-0002-0387-370X
Wang, L.0000-0002-9803-166X
Additional Information:© 2009. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2008 December 23; accepted 2009 January 26; published 2009 March 2. This research is supported by the Chinese PANDA International Polar Year project and the Polar Research Institute of China. The authors wish to thank all members of the 2008 PRIC Dome A expedition for their heroic effort in reaching the site and for providing invaluable assistance to the expedition astronomers in setting up the PLATO observatory and its associated instrument suite. A number of staff and students from the University of New South Wales provided valuable “last minute” contributions that helped to ensure the success of this project: we particularly thank George Georgevits, Mikayla Keen, Tim Leslie, and Jessie Christiansen. This research is financially supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the European Commission Sixth Framework Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the US National Science Foundation, and the United States Antarctic Program. Additional financial contributions have been made by the institutions involved in this collaboration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Chinese PANDA International Polar Year projectUNSPECIFIED
Polar Research Institute of ChinaUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Australian Antarctic DivisionUNSPECIFIED
Chinese Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
European Commission Sixth Framework ProgramUNSPECIFIED
National Natural Science Foundation of ChinaUNSPECIFIED
United States Antarctic ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:High-Antarctic Plateau; South-Pole; sky brightness; atmospheric-turbulence; astronomy; telescope; array
Issue or Number:876
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090422-082809119
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14040
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Aug 2009 21:30
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:42

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