Optical Sky Brightness and Transparency during the Winter Season at Dome A Antarctica from the Gattini-All-Sky Camera Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. The summit of the Antarctic plateau, Dome A, is proving to be an excellent site for optical, near-infrared, and terahertz astronomical observations. Gattini is a wide-field camera installed on the PLATO instrument module as part of the Chinese-led traverse to Dome A in 2009 January. We present here the measurements of sky brightness with the Gattini ultra-large field of view (90 90) in the photometric B-, V-, and R-bands; cloud cover statistics measured during the 2009 winter season; and an estimate of the sky transparency. A cumulative probability distribution indicates that the darkest 10% of the nights at Dome A have sky brightness of SB=22.98, SV=21.86, and SR=21.68 mag arcsec-2. These values were obtained during the year 2009 with minimum aurora, and they are comparable to the faintest sky brightness at Maunakea and the best sites of northern Chile. Since every filter includes strong auroral lines that effectively contaminate the sky brightness measurements, for instruments working around the auroral lines, either with custom filters or with high spectral resolution instruments, these values could be easily obtained on a more routine basis. In addition, we present example light curves for bright targets to emphasize the unprecedented observational window function available from this ground-based site. These light curves will be published in a future paper.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, Y. i., Moore, A. M., Krisciunas, K., Wang, L., Ashley, M., Fu, J., ... Zhu, Z.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Yi||Moore, Anna M||Krisciunas, Kevin||Wang, Lifan||Ashley, Michael CB||Fu, Jianning||Brown, Peter J||Cui, Xiangqun||Feng, Long-Long||Gong, Xuefei||Hu, Zhongwen||Lawrence, Jon S||Luong-Van, Daniel||Riddle, Reed L||Shang, Zhaohui||Sims, Geoff||Storey, John WV||Suntzeff, Nicholas B||Tothill, Nick||Travouillon, Tony||Yang, Huigen||Yang, Ji||Zhou, Xu||Zhu, Zhenxi

publication date

  • July 2017