The Uniqueness of the Geographic South Pole for the Observations of Large Scale Velocity Fields on the Sun: Some Experiences from a 120 Hours Continuous H-Alpha Patrol during January 1979
Highlights of Astronomy
Continuous solar observations over extended periods of time with the sun at constant altitude have heretofore been unobtainable. A solar observatory at the geographic South Pole will provide continuous homogenous observations of various solar features during the austral summer months. An optical site testing campaign during January 1979 showed seeing conditions at the site to be even better than expected. During the 1979-80 austral summer solar global oscillations will be studied with the Nice
... odium cell spectrophotometer. Lifetime studies of the chromospheric network will be conducted with a 30-cm heliostat in combination with a 20-cm f/100 objective lens to provide a 20-cm solar image for monochromatic filters during the following year.A report published a decade ago by the U. S. National Academy of Sciences (1970) devoted one chapter to a discussion of the potential advantages of conducting certain types of astronomical observations at the geographic South Pole. One unique feature of this site is that it affords the opportunity for obtaining continuous homogenous observations with a single instrumental system over extended periods of time. Furthermore, special benefits for solar research stem from the constant angular level of the sun in the sky and the uniform local geography of the high altitude polar plateau (2912 meters, mean atmospheric pressure 680 mb corresponding to roughly 3300 meters at midlatitude).