CARA Science: IR Site Characterizartion

Near Infrared

In the near-IR, the sky brightness has been shown to be between 20 and 100 times lower than at temperate sites (Phillips et al. 1999; Ashley et al. 1996; Nguyen et al. 1996). Exceptionally low near-IR backgrounds at the South Pole are not infrequent (Phillips et al. 1999).


At 11 microns the summertime sky brightness at the South Pole is an order of magnitude lower than at a typical temperate observatory in winter, and much more stable (Smith & Harper 1997).

Between 20 and 30 microns the wintertime optical depth is typically 0.25 with excellent stability of 0.2% variability over the 14 minute periods of observation.

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