Sky brightness and transparency in the i-band at Dome A, Antarctica

Hu Zou*, Xu Zhou, Zhaoji Jiang, M. C. B. Ashley, Xiangqun Cui, Longlong Feng, Xuefei Gong, Jingyao Hu, C. A. KuLesa, J. S. Lawrence, Genrong Liu, D. M. Luong-Van, Jun Ma, A. M. Moore, C. R. Pennypacker, Weijia Qin, Zhaohui Shang, J. W.V. Storey, Bo Sun, T. TravouillonC. K. Walker, Jiali Wang, Lifan Wang, Jianghua Wu, Zhenyu Wu, Lirong Xia, Jun Yan, Ji Yang, Huigen Yang, Yongqiang Yao, Xiangyan Yuan, D. G. York, Zhanhai Zhang, Zhenxi Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    The i-band observing conditions at Dome A on the Antarctic plateau have been investigated using data acquired during 2008 with the Chinese Small Telescope Array. The sky brightness, variations in atmospheric transparency, cloud cover, and the presence of aurorae are obtained from these images. The median sky brightness of moonless clear nights is 20.5 mag arcsec-2 in the SDSS i band at the south celestial pole (which includes a contribution of about 0.06 mag from diffuse Galactic light). The median over all Moon phases in the Antarctic winter is about 19.8 mag arcsec-2. There were no thick clouds in 2008. We model contributions of the Sun and the Moon to the sky background to obtain the relationship between the sky brightness and transparency. Aurorae are identified by comparing the observed sky brightness to the sky brightness expected from this model. About 2% of the images are affected by relatively strong aurorae.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)602-611
    Number of pages10
    JournalAstronomical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

    Bibliographical note

    Erratum can be found in Astronomical Journal, Volume 140(6), 2146,


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