Astronomy in Canada's High Artic

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Dec 13, 2006 - Astronomy in Canada's High Arctic - Long nights and clear skies - Dr. Eric Steinbring, HIA/DAO

The earth's polar regions are well suited for astronomy. And they have advantages over Hawaii and Chile, which have been viewed as the best locations for the last few decades. The poles are not only extremely dry, but also beneficial for work in the infrared, incredibly cold. Plus, they provide months of uninterrupted darkness. It has already been shown that the Antarctic offers places that combine these qualities with clear skies. Satellite imagery suggests that mountains in Canada's far North should also possess excellent sky conditions - and there is reason to believe they might be even better places than the Antarctic to put telescopes. To confirm this our group has begun testing two mountains on Northern Ellesmere Island, about as far north as one can go and still remain within Canada. I'll talk about our initial efforts this summer, which put in place two robotic weather stations and sky monitors. Bring your Gravol for plenty of shaky hand-held video from bush planes, helicopters, and glacier-topped mountains!

You can browse our Robotic station site

Bio: My primary research area is galaxy formation and evolution. I use adaptive optics on large telescopes in Hawaii, combined with data from the Hubble, to spatially resolve distant galaxies and study their structure. I am also involved in astronomical site testing, looking for even better places to build new ground-based telescopes. My CV site



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