Wide-field Optical Astronomy from Antarctica

Aug 13, 2012

Wide-field Optical Astronomy from Antarctica, a Chinese-Australian Workshop

AAL, UNSW and CAASTRO held a one day workshop for Australian astronomers to engage with Chinese astronomers involved in the project at Dome A.The objective of the workshop was to define a plan for Australian contribution to the commencement of significant scientific output from the Chinese AST3 telescope project at Dome A on the Antarctic plateau. Around fifty Australian astronomers attended and engaged with invited Chinese astronomers Ji Yang (Purple Mountain Observatory), Lifan Wang (Purple Mountain Observatory/Texas A&M University) and Jilin Zhou (Nanjing University).

In January this year, China installed the first of three 0.5 metre wide-field (1.5x2.9 degree) optical imaging telescopes, AST3-1, at the highest point of the Antarctic plateau.  Australia is currently involved in Dome A activities through UNSW’s PLATO-A, which will be the primary support platform for AST3, and through equipment to characterise the infrared background and cloud cover at Dome A.

The workshop participants successfully identified key science areas for collaboration between Chinese and Australian astronomers using AST3 data and potential complementary instruments and resources in Australia.  To read more about the workshop, click here.