Dome A, Antarctica: Prospectives for terahertz astronomy from the ground

C. A. Kulesa, C. K. Walker, M. Schein, D. Golish, N. Tothill, P. Siegel, S. Weinreb, G. Jones, J. Bardin, K. Jacobs, C. L. Martin, J. Storey, M. Ashley, J. Lawrence, D. Luong-Van, J. Everett, L. Wang, L. Feng, Z. Zhu, J. YanJ. Yang, X. G. Zhang, X. Cui, X. Yuan, J. Hu, Z. Xu, Z. Jiang, H. Yang, Y. Li, B. Sun, W. Qin, Z. Shang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over a decade of site testing and operation of submillimeter telescopes has shown that the high Antarctic Plateau (South Pole) and Chilean Atacama desert (Chajnantor) are exceptional ground-based sites for submillimeter and terahertz astronomy. The highest sites at both locations (Dome A and the Chajnantor and Sairecabur summits) show great promise in yielding even more favorable conditions. To test the conditions at Dome A, we have deployed Pre-HEAT, a 20 cm aperture submillimeter-wave telescope with a 660 GHz (450 micron) Schottky diode heterodyne receiver and digital FFT spectrometer for the Plateau Observatory (PLATO) developed by the University of New South Wales. In January 2008 it was deployed to Dome A, the summit of the Antarctic plateau, as part of a scientific traverse led by the Polar Research Institute of China. Dome A may be one of the best sites in the world for ground based Terahertz astronomy, based on the exceptionally cold, dry and stable conditions which prevail there. Pre-HEAT is measuring the 450 micron sky opacity at Dome A and mapping the Galactic Plane in the 13CO J=6-5 line, constituting the first submillimeter measurements from Dome A. It is field-testing many of the key technologies for its namesake, a successor mission called HEAT: the High Elevation Antarctic Terahertz telescope. Exciting prospects for submillimeter astronomy from Dome A and the status of Pre-HEAT will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2008
Event19th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, ISSTT 2008 - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: Apr 28 2008Apr 30 2008


Other19th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology, ISSTT 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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