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20 October 2004 Optical turbulence in the Antarctic atmosphere
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Turbulence in the earth's atmosphere severely limits the resolution and sensitivity of astronomical observations. The vertical distribution of turbulence in the atmosphere has a profound effect on the residuals after correction by an active instrument such as adaptive optics or a fringe tracking interferometer. It has already been shown that the South Pole has turbulence profiles unlike those at any other site, dominated by ground layer turbulence, with low free air seeing. This paper examines the meteorology, climatology and atmospheric physics that produces these conditions. Combining meterological observations at remote sites with models of atmospheric turbulence allows quantitative extrapolation to the likely conditions at sites now under development and consideration that may provide the ultimate ground based site for near and mid-infrared interferometry. The high plateau sites in Antarctica will likely enable complete sky coverage for adaptive optics and interferometry in the near infrared with natural guide stars.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
James P. Lloyd "Optical turbulence in the Antarctic atmosphere", Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004);


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