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Proceedings Paper

Performance of the autonomous PLATO Antarctic Observatory over two full years
Author(s): Daniel M. Luong-Van; Michael C. B. Ashley; Xiangqun Cui; Jon R. Everett; Longlong Feng; Xuefei Gong; Shane Hengst; Jon S. Lawrence; John W. V. Storey; Lifan Wang; Huigen Yang; Ji Yang; Xu Zhou; Zhengxi Zhu
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Paper Abstract

For continuous observation at locations that are inhospitable for humans, the desirability of autonomous observatories is self evident. PLATO, the 'PLATeau Observatory' was designed to host an easily configurable instrument suite in the extremely cold conditions on the Antarctic plateau, and can provide up to 1 kW of power for the instruments. Powered by jet fuel and the Sun, PLATO and its instruments have been taking nearly uninterrupted astronomical science and sitetesting data at Dome A, the coldest, highest and driest location1 on the Antarctic Plateau, since their deployment by the 24th Chinese expedition team in January 2008. At the time of writing, PLATO has delivered a total uptime of 730 days. Following a servicing mission by the 25th Chinese expedition team in 2008-9, PLATO has achieved 100% up-time (520 days) and has been in continuous contact with the rest of the world via its Iridium satellite modems. This paper discusses the performance of the observatory itself, assesses the sources of energy and dissects how the energy is divided between the core observatory functions of instrument power, heating, control and communication.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7733, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III, 77331T (4 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857910
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel M. Luong-Van, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Michael C. B. Ashley, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Xiangqun Cui, Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology (China)
Jon R. Everett, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Longlong Feng, Purple Mountain Observatory (China)
Xuefei Gong, Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology (China)
Shane Hengst, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Jon S. Lawrence, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
John W. V. Storey, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Lifan Wang, Purple Mountain Observatory (China)
Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Huigen Yang, Polar Research Institute of China (China)
Ji Yang, Purple Mountain Observatory (China)
Xu Zhou, National Astronomical Observatories (China)
Zhengxi Zhu, Purple Mountain Observatory (China)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7733:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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