The unique atmospheric conditions present at sites such as Dome C on the Antarctic plateau are very favorable for high spatial resolution astronomy. At Dome C, the majority of the optical turbulence is confined to a 30 to 40 m thick stable boundary layer that results from the strong temperature inversion created by the heat exchange between the air and the ice-covered ground. To fully realize the potential of the exceptionally calm free atmosphere, this boundary layer must be overcome. In this article we compare the performance of two methods proposed to beat the boundary layer: mounting a telescope on a tower that physically puts it above the turbulent layer, and installing a telescope at ground level with a ground-layer adaptive optics system. A case is also made to combine these two methods to further improve the image quality.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2009|