At the heart of 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 , 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, 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 « would have sharper images “And would detect” lighter objects », Explains the astronomer.
However, several challenges remain to be resolved. The location of the , 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, 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%.