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Published November 19, 2003 | Published
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Extrasolar planet science with the Antarctic planet interferometer


The primary limitation to ground based astronomy is the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere above the Antarctic plateau is different in many regards compared to the atmosphere at temperate sites. The extreme altitude, cold and low humidity offer a uniquely transparent atmosphere at many wavelengths. Studies at the South Pole have shown additionally that the turbulence properties of the night time polar atmosphere are fundamentally different to mid latitudes. Despite relatively strong ground layer turbulence, the lack of high altitude turbulence combined with low wind speeds presents favorable conditions for interferometry. The unique properties of the polar atmosphere can be exploited for Extrasolar Planet studies with differential astrometry, differential phase and nulling intereferometers. This paper combines the available data on the properties of the atmosphere at the South Pole and other Antarctic plateau sites for Extrasolar Planet science with interferometry.

Additional Information

© 2003 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). This work has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Adaptive Optics, managed by the University of California at Santa Cruz under cooperative agreement. No. AST-9876783.

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August 19, 2023
January 14, 2024