The PLATO dome a site-testing observatory: Instrumentation and first results

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

The PLATeau Observatory (PLATO) is an automated self-powered astrophysical observatory that was deployed to Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, in 2008 January. PLATO consists of a suite of site-testing instruments designed to quantify the benefits of the Dome A site for astronomy, and science instruments designed to take advantage of the unique observing conditions. Instruments include CSTAR, an array of optical telescopes for transient astronomy; Gattini, an instrument to measure the optical sky brightness and cloud cover statistics; DASLE, an experiment to measure the statistics of the meteorological conditions within the near-surface layer; Pre-HEAT, a submillimeter tipping radiometer measuring the atmospheric transmission and water vapor content and performing spectral line imaging of the Galactic plane; and Snodar, an acoustic radar designed to measure turbulence within the near-surface layer. PLATO has run completely unattended and collected data throughout the winter 2008 season. Here we present a detailed description of the PLATO instrument suite and preliminary results obtained from the first season of operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Volume121
Issue number876
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Yang, H., Allen, G., Ashley, M. C. B., Bonner, C. S., Bradley, S., Cui, X., ... Zhu, Z. (2009). The PLATO dome a site-testing observatory: Instrumentation and first results. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121(876), 174-184. https://doi.org/10.1086/597547