CARA Science: AST/RO Heterodyne Receivers

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The Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO) is a 1.7-meter telescope and it has been in operation since January 1995. It is a general-purpose telescope for astronomy and aeronomy studies at wavelengths between 200 and 2000 microns (Stark 1997a). The telescope operates continuously through the austral winter, and has been available for use on a proposal basis by all astronomers since 1998.

AST/RO studies have concentrated on spectroscopic observations of submillimeter-wave transitions of atomic carbon and carbon monoxide in molecular clouds and photon-dominated regions of the Milky Way. In addition, submillimeter sky characteristics have been measured using AST/RO (Chamberlin 1997, Lane 1998).

AST/RO's receivers are:

There are also two acousto-optical spectrometers (AOS) with 1.07 MHz resolution, 1.1 GHz bandwidth, and 2048 channels each, and one high-resolution AOS with 44 kHz resolution, 64 MHz bandwidth, and 2048 channels.

AST/RO invites observing proposals from the astronomical community. Since travel to the South Pole is not possible during Austral winter (Feb.-Oct.), observations on AST/RO are performed by a winterover scientist in residence at South Pole.


Over its lifetime, AST/RO has concentrated on three types of projects: 1) observatory projects proposed and decided upon by consensus during numerous bi-annual meetings of the extended AST/RO group representing eight different institutions; 2) graduate student thesis projects, two of which have been completed using AST/RO data and two more which are approaching the final stages; and 3) external proposals submitted in response to three general proposal solicitations to the worldwide astronomy community. Major accomplishments in each category include: External Proposals: AST/RO data have been obtained and distributed to the following external PIs: W. Reach (CI emission from a translucent cloud in Chamaeleon); M. Marx (CI emission from cold, quiescent atomic clouds in the LMC); P. Wannier (CI emission across cloud boundaries in the Southern Coalsack and Chamaeleon regions); T. Bourke (CI and CO J=4-3 maps of the globule/high-velocity outflow BHR71); F. Scappini (CO J=4-3 observations of Bok globules); and D. Clemens (CO J=4-3 survey for dense gas in high-mass star-forming regions).


For more information

The group has a website at .

AST/RO is based at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. For more information, contact Adair Lane, .