Astronomers Find World’s Best Observing Site

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 ground.
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.
The researchers pinpointed a site on an Antarctic plateau with the prosaic name “Ridge A”. At an elevation of 4,053 m, the ridge is not only remote but extremely cold and dry. The study revealed that Ridge A has an average winter temperature of -70 °C, and that 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.

Full article by Brian Ventrudo on Universe Today



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