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Published 2010 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Gattini 2010: Cutting Edge Science at the Bottom of the World


The high altitude Antarctic sites of Dome A and the South Pole offer intriguing locations for future large scale optical astronomical Observatories. The Gattini project was created to measure the optical sky brightness, large area cloud cover and aurora of the winter-time sky above such high altitude Antarctic sites. The Gattini-DomeA camera was installed on the PLATO instrument module as part of the Chinese-led traverse to the highest point on the Antarctic plateau in January 2008. This single automated wide field camera contains a suite of Bessel photometric filters (B, V, R) and a long-pass red filter for the detection and monitoring of OH emission. We have in hand one complete winter-time dataset (2009) from the camera that was recently returned in April 2010. The Gattini-South Pole UV camera is a wide-field optical camera that in 2011 will measure for the first time the UV properties of the winter-time sky above the South Pole dark sector. This unique dataset will consist of frequent images taken in both broadband U and B filters in addition to high resolution (R similar to 5000) long slit spectroscopy over a narrow bandwidth of the central field. The camera is a proof of concept for the 2m-class Antarctic Cosmic Web Imager telescope, a dedicated experiment to directly detect and map the redshifted lyman alpha fluorescence or Cosmic Web emission we believe possible due to the unique geographical qualities of the site. We present the current status of both projects.

Additional Information

© 2010 SPIE. 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 the members of the 20081200912010 PRIC Dome A expeditions for their heroic efforts in reaching the site and for providing invaluable assistance to the expedition astronomers in setting up the PLATO observatory and its associated instrument suite. This research is financially supported by the US National Science Foundation and the United States Antarctic Program. The operation of PLATO at Dome A is supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Antarctic Division, and the University of New South Wales.

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January 13, 2024