Astronomical site testing in the era of the extremely large telescopes

Lombardi, Gianluca (2009) Astronomical site testing in the era of the extremely large telescopes, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Astronomia, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2031.
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The quality of astronomical sites is the first step to be considered to have the best performances from the telescopes. In particular, the efficiency of large telescopes in UV, IR, radio etc. is critically dependent on atmospheric transparency. It is well known that the random optical effects induced on the light propagation by turbulent atmosphere also limit telescope’s performances. Nowadays, clear appears the importance to correlate the main atmospheric physical parameters with the optical quality reachable by large aperture telescopes. The sky quality evaluation improved with the introduction of new techniques, new instrumentations and with the understanding of the link between the meteorological (or synoptical parameters and the observational conditions thanks to the application of the theories of electromagnetic waves propagation in turbulent medias: what we actually call astroclimatology. At the present the site campaigns are evolved and are performed using the classical scheme of optical seeing properties, meteorological parameters, sky transparency, sky darkness and cloudiness. New concept are added and are related to the geophysical properties such as seismicity, microseismicity, local variability of the climate, atmospheric conditions related to the ground optical turbulence and ground wind regimes, aerosol presence, use of satellite data. The purpose of this project is to provide reliable methods to analyze the atmospheric properties that affect ground-based optical astronomical observations and to correlate them with the main atmospheric parameters generating turbulence and affecting the photometric accuracy. The first part of the research concerns the analysis and interpretation of longand short-time scale meteorological data at two of the most important astronomical sites located in very different environments: the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert (Chile), and the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos(ORM) located in La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain). The optical properties of airborne dust at ORM have been investigated collecting outdoor data using a ground-based dust monitor. Because of its dryness, Paranal is a suitable observatory for near-IR observations, thus the extinction properties in the spectral range 1.00-2.30 um have been investigated using an empirical method. Furthermore, this PhD research has been developed using several turbulence profilers in the selection of the site for the European Extremely Large Telescope(E-ELT). During the campaigns the properties of the turbulence at different heights at Paranal and in the sites located in northern Chile and Argentina have been studied. This given the possibility to characterize the surface layer turbulence at Paranal and its connection with local meteorological conditions.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Lombardi, Gianluca
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze matematiche, fisiche ed astronomiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
31 Marzo 2009

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