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The Joint Australian Centre for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica, JACARA, has been constituted to facilitate Australian participation in the development of Antarctic astronomy. It has joint nodes at the School of Physics in the University of New South Wales, and at Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories in the Australian National University. JACARA receives advice from the Australian Working Group for Antarctic Astronomy. This group was created by the National Committee for Astronomy in order to study the scientific potential of the Antarctic Plateau for astronomy.
JACARA is a joint collaboration between the following institutions
JACARA is promoting activities, both nationally and internationally, that will facilitate our ability to operate an Antarctic Observatory and maximise the science that can be produced. The focus has been on site testing, to quantify the limitations to astronomical observations across the spectrum and determine the optimum site for an international observatory. This is being conducted at the South Pole and Dome C. Of special interest is the development of an Automated Astrophysical Site Testing Observatory (AASTO) at the South Pole, and its successor, the Automated Astrophysical Site Testing International Observatory (AASTINO) at Dome C. JACARA collaborated in the Abu/Aladdin project, operating a 1024x1024 InSb array on the 60cm prototype SPIREX telescope at the South Pole, demonstrating the capabilities for thermal IR (3-5um) imaging. JACARA is now developing the concept of PILOT, the Pathfinder for an International Large Optical Telescope, a 2m wide-field telescope able to provide diffraction-limited performance from 30 microns to visual wavebands.
The JACARA Science Steering Committee
- Michael Burton, University of New South Wales (Chair)
- Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Anglo Australian Observatory
- John Dickey, University of Tasmania
- Marc Duldig, Australian Antarctic Division
- Geraint Lewis, University of Sydney
- Sarah Maddison, Swinburne University
- Peter McGregor, Australian National University
School of Physics,
University of New South Wales,
Sydney, NSW 2052