View Full Version : Astronomers Find World’s Best Observing Site

2009-Aug-31, 07:00 PM
The search for the best observatory site in the world has lead to the discovery of what is thought to be the coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth. No human is thought to have ever been there, but it’s expected to yield images of the heavens three times sharper than any ever taken from the [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/08/31/astronomers-find-world%e2%80%99s-best-observing-site/)

2009-Aug-31, 07:02 PM
"The astronomical images taken at Ridge A should be at least three times sharper than at the best sites currently used by astronomers," says Dr. Saunders. "Because the sky there is so much darker and drier, it means that a modestly-sized telescope there would be as powerful as the largest telescopes anywhere else on earth."

Wow! If only it wasn't so friggin cold there!!!

2009-Aug-31, 07:14 PM
More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/08/31/astronomers-find-world%e2%80%99s-best-observing-site/)
The joint US-Australian research team combined data from satellites, ground stations and climate models to assess the many factors that affect the quality of an observing site – cloud cover, temperature, sky-brightness, water vapour, wind speeds and atmospheric turbulence.So why does the illustration show wind and clouds? :)

Wow! If only it wasn't so friggin cold there!!!"Ridge A has an average winter temperature of -70 °C"


But here's the best part:
the water content of the entire atmosphere in a vertical column above the ridge is equivalent to a layer of liquid water less than the thickness of a human hair.

2009-Aug-31, 08:14 PM
That's an average temperature, meaning it gets colder there.

I lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for 2 1/2 years. It would get down to -52c in the winter. Old Crow, YT would go below -70c. After about -40c it all feels the same, cold. You dress for the cold and you should be fine. The only worry that you would have when it gets that cold is the wind. Whitehorse has almost no wind at all in the winter (causing an issue with ice fog developing over the city), so the cold is manageable as long as you are dressing for it. If they got that kind of temperatures here in Winnipeg where we can get 70-80kph winds in the winter, the entire city would shut down. As it is we do get -35c to -40c in the winter, PLUS wind chill.

2009-Sep-01, 01:08 AM
Note that this is only true for infrared observing and that any observing at optical wavelengths is compromised by airglow and aurorae.

2009-Sep-01, 01:19 PM
So why does the illustration show wind and clouds? :)

Because that would have been too boring. However, since you asked, here is what the area around the site looks like during the best viewing conditions:


2009-Sep-04, 01:17 PM
I think the picture used in the article was actually taken at the Chinese site some 90 miles away. Here is picture taken at "Ridge A":


2009-Sep-05, 03:26 AM
cool! hardly looks wind blown