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Space

Astronomers Find the Calmest Place On Earth 231

The Narrative Fallacy writes "Live Science reports that astronomers in search of the perfect site to take pictures of the heavens have combined data from satellites, ground stations and climate models in a study to assess the many factors that affect image quality — cloud cover, temperature, sky-brightness, water vapor, wind speeds and atmospheric turbulence. They have pinpointed the coldest, driest, calmest place on earth, known simply as Ridge A, 13,297 feet high on the Antarctic Plateau. 'It's so calm that there's almost no wind or weather there at all,' says study leader Will Saunders, of the Anglo-Australian Observatory. 'The astronomical images taken at Ridge A should be at least three times sharper than at the best sites currently used by astronomers.' Located within the Australian Antarctic Territory, the site is 89 miles from the PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) international robotic observatory. The new site would be superior to the best existing observatories on high mountain tops in Hawaii and Chile, Saunders says. 'Because the sky there is so much darker and drier, it means that a modestly-sized telescope would be as powerful as the largest telescopes anywhere else on earth.'"

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