The PLATO antarctic site testing observatory

J. S. Lawrence, G. R. Allen, M. C.B. Ashley, C. Bonner, S. Bradley, X. Cui, J. R. Everett, L. Feng, X. Gong, S. Hengst, J. Hu, Z. Jiang, C. A. Kulesa, Y. Li, D. Luong-Van, A. M. Moore, C. Pennypacker, W. Qin, R. Riddle, Z. Shang & 16 others J. W.V. Storey, B. Sun, N. Suntzeff, N. F.H. Tothill, T. Travouillon, C. K. Walker, L. Wang, J. Yan, J. Yang, H. Yang, D. Yorko, X. Yuan, X. G. Zhang, Z. Zhang, X. Zhou, Z. Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

33 Citations (Scopus)


Over a decade of site testing in Antarctica has shown that both South Pole and Dome C are xceptional sites for astronomy, with certain atmospheric conditions superior to those at existing mid-latitude sites. However, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, Dome A, is expected to experience colder atmospheric temperatures, lower wind speeds, and a turbulent boundary layer that is confined closer to the ground. The Polar Research Institute of China, who were the first to visit the Dome A site in January 2005, plan to establish a permanently manned station there within the next decade. As part of this process they conducted a second expedition to Dome A, arriving via overland traverse in January 2008. This traverse involved the delivery and installation of the PLATeau Observatory (PLATO). PLATO is an automated self-powered astrophysical site testing observatory, developed by the University of New South Wales. A number of international institutions have contributed site testing instruments measuring turbulence, optical sky background, and sub-millimetre transparency. In addition, a set of science instruments are providing wide-field high time resolution optical photometry and terahertz imaging of the Galaxy. We present here an overview of the PLATO system design and instrumentation suite.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-based and airborne telescopes II
EditorsLarry M. Stepp, Roberto Gilmozzi
Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780819472229
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventGround-based and Airborne Telescopes II - Marseille, France
Duration: 23 Jun 200828 Jun 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-based and Airborne Telescopes II


  • Antarctic astronomy
  • Site testing

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