I read that there is less atmospheric interference for the telescope at the South Pole because the atmosphere is thin and there is less water vapor in the air. However this seems to be true for many locations on Antarctica? Are there any other reasons that this telescope is located at exactly the South Pole?
Here are extra reasons to the dry air :
During the winter, sunshine does not reach the South Pole; nighttime (or daytime in the summer) extends for months. The lack of daily sunsets and sunrises makes the atmosphere extremely stable. Conducting observations in the winter also removes another contaminant to millimeter/sub-millimeter observations - the sun. All these factors conspire to make the South Pole the perfect place for the South Pole Telescope.
The further north these extra reasons for choosing the South Pole plateau become important, there will be increasing presence of the sun.
Just guessing here, but ...
Compare the regions with really good skies with the places that have infrastructure and people present. Most of the installations are coastal, right? Are those good places to put a telescope? And while the whole inland plateau has good skies, it has few occupied site, and only one operated by the US.
So what is the case for putting up some other (very expensive to build and maintain) installation, when you could just drop it by South Pole Station where they already maintain a year-round presence.
If the telescope was situated directly on the southern axis of the earth's rotation, the telescope's declination axis would be at zenith. The base for the axis would be level to the ground. In theory you could compensate for the earth's rotation with only one motion of the telescope. Also, its the only place on earth where the entire southern celestial hemisphere is visible. Now, are these the reasons it is built there, probably not but they would be advantages.
protected by Qmechanic♦ Apr 17 '17 at 20:32
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