Antarctica is the best place on Earth to observe the cosmos

At the heart ofAntarctic there are several mountains of ice. From its height of 4,093 meters, the one called Dome Argus overlooks all the others. A characteristic that would make it the best place on Earth to observe the sky, according to a study published in Nature, since atmospheric turbulence, a phenomenon which scrambles astronomical images, is less there.

« A telescope located at Dome A could surpass a similar telescope located at any other astronomical site, enthusiastically Paul Hickson, study co-author, the combination of high altitude, low temperatures, long periods of continuous darkness and an exceptionally stable atmosphere “, Makes it very attractive. Installed in this place, a telescope « would have sharper images “And would detect” lighter objects », Explains the astronomer.

However, several challenges remain to be resolved. The location of the Argus Dome, about 1,200 kilometers inside Antarctica, as well as its hostile temperatures to humans … and machines. ” Our telescope observed the sky fully automatically, in an unmanned station, for seven months, highlighted Bin Ma, co-author of the study, the air temperature sometimes dropped to -75 ° C “. The frost then hampered the craft’s vision, which could be improved by 10 to 12%.

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