The best ground-based astronomical sites in terms of telescope sensitivity at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths are located on the Antarctic Plateau, where high atmospheric transparency and low sky emission are obtained because of the extremely cold and dry air; these benefits are well characterized at the South Pole station. The relative advantages offered by three potentially superior sites, Dome C, Dome F, and Dome A, located higher on the Antarctic Plateau, are quantified here through the development of atmospheric models using the line-by-line radiative transfer model code. In the near- to mid-infrared, sensitivity gains relative to the South Pole of up to a factor of 10 are predicted at Dome A, and a factor of 2 for Dome C. In the mid-to far-infrared, sensitivity gains relative to the South Pole up to a factor of 100 are predicted for Dome A and 10 for Dome C. These values correspond to even larger gains (up to 3 orders of magnitude) compared to the best mid-latitude sites, such as Mauna Kea and the Chajnantor Plateau.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|Publication status||Published - May 2004|