The PLATO Antarctic site testing observatory Conference Paper uri icon


  • 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.

name of conference

  • Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes II

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of SPIE

author list (cited authors)

  • Lawrence, J. S., Allen, G. R., Ashley, M., Bonner, C., Bradley, S., Cui, X., ... Zhu, Z.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Lawrence, JS||Allen, GR||Ashley, MCB||Bonner, C||Bradley, S||Cui, X||Everett, JR||Feng, L||Gong, X||Hengst, S||Hu, J||Jiang, Z||Kulesa, CA||Li, Y||Luong-Van, D||Moore, AM||Pennypacker, C||Qin, W||Riddle, R||Shang, Z||Storey, JWV||Sun, B||Suntzeff, N||Tothill, NFH||Travouillon, T||Walker, CK||Wang, L||Yan, J||Yang, J||Yang, H||York, D||Yuan, X||Zhang, XG||Zhang, Z||Zhou, X||Zhu, Z

editor list (cited editors)

  • Stepp, L. M., & Gilmozzi, R.

publication date

  • August 2008