Observations of the Antarctic infrared sky spectral brightness

Jon S. Lawrence*, Michael C B Ashley, Michael G. Burton, John W V Storey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


An important parameter that defines the effectiveness and efficiency of any optical or infrared sky survey is the atmospheric character of the observing site. Of prime importance is the sky spectral brightness, which determines the sensitivities and the observing time required to complete a particular survey. This paper presents observations of the near-infrared sky spectral brightness measured at the South Pole throughout the 2001 winter with an automated instrument, the Near Infrared Sky Monitor (NISM). Results from the NISM confirm that the South Pole sky spectral brightness is up to two orders of magnitude lower than at any other ground-based site, consistent with previous observations. These results indicate that the Antarctic plateau is an ideal place to site a future infrared sky survey telescope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-179
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Antarctic astronomy
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Radiative transfer
  • Site-testing

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