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Potential of Radiotelescopes for Atmospheric Line Observations: I. Observation Principles and Transmission Curves for Selected Sites

  • Schneider, Nicola
  • Urban, Joachim
  • Baron, Philippe
Publication Date
Jul 06, 2009
Submission Date
Feb 10, 2009
DOI: 10.1029/2009JD011963
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Existing and planned radiotelescopes working in the millimetre (mm) and sub-millimetre wavelengths range provide the possibility to be used for atmospheric line observations. To scrutinize this potential, we outline the differences and similarities in technical equipment and observing techniques between ground-based aeronomy mm-wave radiometers and radiotelescopes. Comprehensive tables summarizing the technical characteristics of existing and future (sub)-mm radiotelescopes are given. The advantages and disadvantages using radiotelescopes for atmospheric line observations are discussed. In view of the importance of exploring the sub-mm and far-infrared wavelengths range for astronomical observations and atmospheric sciences, we present model calculations of the atmospheric transmission for selected telescope sites (DOME-C/Antarctica, ALMA/Chajnantor, JCMT and CSO on Mauna Kea/Hawaii, KOSMA/Swiss Alpes) for frequencies between 0 and 2000 GHz (150 micron) and typical atmospheric conditions using the forward model MOLIERE (version~5). For the DOME-C site, the transmission over a larger range of up to 10 THz (30 micron) is calculated in order to demonstrate the quality of an earth-bound site for mid-IR observations. All results are available on a dedicated webpage (

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