Scientists pinpoint an icy dome as the best spot on Earth for skygazing, amateur astronomy - Rclipse Blog

Scientists pinpoint an icy dome as the best spot on Earth for skygazing, amateur astronomy

In a new research conducted by Chinese and Australian scientists, researchers have found that the highest dome of ice in the Antarctic plateau is the best place on Earth for stargazing.

The findings of the research have been published in the journal Nature on 29 July. Scientists have written how the atmosphere is very stable on Dome Argus or Dome A, making it a suitable spot for looking at the sky.

"After a decade of indirect evidence and theoretical reasoning, we finally have direct observational proof of the extraordinarily good conditions at Dome A,” said co-author of the study Michael Ashley, who is an astronomer with the University of New South Wales.

Explaining why Dome A proved to be the number one candidate, the professor said that it is the highest point in the central plateau region of Antarctica and the atmosphere there is "much more [stable] than anywhere else on Earth".

A simulation of the South East horizon in the pre-dawn hours of 20 July. Image: Stellarium

Another by-product of a stable atmosphere is that the "twinkling of the stars is greatly reduced". So, people can see sharper and clearer images of the stars.

One of the other reasons why such a cold place is desirable for stargazing lies in its dry weather. According to an article by CNet, water vapour can greatly affect astronomy because it "absorbs light, particularly in infrared wavelengths". But as Antarctica is very dry, the chances of water vapour in the atmosphere is greatly diminished.

The observation from Dome A has provided results that are about two and a half times better than other good observation spots in Chile or Hawaii, added the article.



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