Abstract

We report measurements of the atmospheric opacity of the South Pole at 225 GHz for the period from day 3 to day 180 in 1992. These opacity data were derived from continual radiometric measurements of the sky-brightness temperature as a function of the zenith angle. These radiometric measurements were performed with a 225-GHz heterodyne atmospheric radiometer on loan from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This radiometer was previously used to characterize other candidate millimeter and submillimeter radio-telescope sites. We found that the atmospheric opacity was below 0.098 air mass−1 75% of the time from day 3 to day 70 in 1992, and below 0.055 air mass−1 75% of the time from day 70 to day 180 in 1992. Thus, our data demonstrate that the South Pole is an excellent site for performing millimeter- and submillimeter-wavelength radio astronomy.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. M. Dragovan, A. A. Stark, R. Pernic, M. A. Pomerantz, “Millimetric sky-opacity measurements from the South Pole,” Appl. Opt. 29, 463–466 (1990).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. W. D. Smythe, B. V. Jackson, “Atmospheric water vapor at the South Pole,” Appl. Opt. 16, 2041–2042 (1977).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. D. E. Hogg, “A summary of the data obtained during the mmA site survey,” Millimeter Array Memo 79 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1992).
  4. Zhong-Yi Liu, 225-GHz Atmospheric Receiver—User's Manual, Electronics Division Internal Rep. 271 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).
  5. M. McKinnon, Measurement of Atmospheric Opacity Due to Water Vapor at 225 GHz, Millimeter Array Memo 40, (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).
  6. K. Rohlfs, Tools of Radio Astronomy (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1986) pp. 166–167.
  7. H. J. Liebe, “MPM—an atmospheric millimeter-wave propagation model,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves 10, 631–650 (1989).
    [CrossRef]

1990 (1)

1989 (1)

H. J. Liebe, “MPM—an atmospheric millimeter-wave propagation model,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves 10, 631–650 (1989).
[CrossRef]

1977 (1)

Dragovan, M.

Hogg, D. E.

D. E. Hogg, “A summary of the data obtained during the mmA site survey,” Millimeter Array Memo 79 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1992).

Jackson, B. V.

Liebe, H. J.

H. J. Liebe, “MPM—an atmospheric millimeter-wave propagation model,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves 10, 631–650 (1989).
[CrossRef]

Liu, Zhong-Yi

Zhong-Yi Liu, 225-GHz Atmospheric Receiver—User's Manual, Electronics Division Internal Rep. 271 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).

McKinnon, M.

M. McKinnon, Measurement of Atmospheric Opacity Due to Water Vapor at 225 GHz, Millimeter Array Memo 40, (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).

Pernic, R.

Pomerantz, M. A.

Rohlfs, K.

K. Rohlfs, Tools of Radio Astronomy (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1986) pp. 166–167.

Smythe, W. D.

Stark, A. A.

Appl. Opt. (2)

Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves (1)

H. J. Liebe, “MPM—an atmospheric millimeter-wave propagation model,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves 10, 631–650 (1989).
[CrossRef]

Other (4)

D. E. Hogg, “A summary of the data obtained during the mmA site survey,” Millimeter Array Memo 79 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1992).

Zhong-Yi Liu, 225-GHz Atmospheric Receiver—User's Manual, Electronics Division Internal Rep. 271 (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).

M. McKinnon, Measurement of Atmospheric Opacity Due to Water Vapor at 225 GHz, Millimeter Array Memo 40, (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, 1987).

K. Rohlfs, Tools of Radio Astronomy (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1986) pp. 166–167.

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

The points shown are the surface temperatures measured by an electronic thermometer on the NRAO radiometer.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

This graph shows the results of a typical zenith-to-horizon sky-brightness measurement scan. The solid points are radiometric measurements of the sky-brightness temperature. The line is a fit of the Eq. (2) to these data. According to this fit, τ = 0.056 air mass−1, and T 0 = 44.4 K, with T at = 217.5 K. The standard deviation of the averaged measurements for each point was less than 0.5 K; therefore, no error bars are shown.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

The deduced atmospheric opacity τ versus elapsed days in 1992.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

The percent of observations for which τ was less than a given value for the period of day 3 to day 70.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

The percent of observations for which τ was less than a given value for the period of day 70 to day 180.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table 1 225-GH2 Opacity Quartiles for the South Pole and Mauna Kea a

Equations (3)

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T sky ( z ) = ( W sky W ref ) * ( T hot T ref ) / ( W hot W ref ) + T ref + 273.16 ,
T sky ( z ) = T 0 + T at { 1 exp [ τ A ( z ) ] } ,
A ( z ) = 0.0045 + 1.00672 / cos ( z ) 0.002234 / [ cos ( z ) ] 2 0.0006247 / [ cos ( z ) ] 3 ,

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