Performance of the autonomous PLATO Antarctic Observatory over two full years

Daniel M. Luong-Van, Michael C B Ashley, Xiangqun Cui, Jon R. Everett, Longlong Feng, Xuefei Gong, Shane Hengst, Jon S. Lawrence, John W V Storey, Lifan Wang, Huigen Yang, Ji Yang, Xu Zhou, Zhengxi Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


For continuous observation at locations that are inhospitable for humans, the desirability of autonomous observatories is self evident. PLATO, the 'PLATeau Observatory' was designed to host an easily configurable instrument suite in the extremely cold conditions on the Antarctic plateau, and can provide up to 1 kW of power for the instruments. Powered by jet fuel and the Sun, PLATO and its instruments have been taking nearly uninterrupted astronomical science and site-testing data at Dome A, the coldest, highest and driest location 1 on the Antarctic Plateau, since their deployment by the 24th Chinese expedition team in January 2008. At the time of writing, PLATO has delivered a total uptime of 730 days. Following a servicing mission by the 25th Chinese expedition team in 2008-9, PLATO has achieved 100% up-time (520 days) and has been in continuous contact with the rest of the world via its Iridium satellite modems. This paper discusses the performance of the observatory itself, assesses the sources of energy and dissects how the energy is divided between the core observatory functions of instrument power, heating, control and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III
EditorsLarry M. Stepp, Roberto Gilmozzi, Helen J. Hall
Place of PublicationWashington, DC
Number of pages8
EditionPART 1
ISBN (Print)9780819482235
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 27 Jun 20102 Jul 2010


OtherGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


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