ISSTT Proceedings

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The Terahertz Atmosphere

Authors:
Scott Paine, Raymond Blundell
Abstract:
The recent development of sites in unusually high and dry locations, notably the Atacama desert of northern Chile and the South Pole, has extended the range of ground-based radio astronomy to frequencies beyond 1 THz. Instruments for observations at these frequencies are being planned, or are under development, for several telescopes. One experimental telescope, the SAO Submillimeter Receiver Laboratory's RLT, has operated routinely above 1 THz since late 2002. Observations at these frequencies, where atmospheric attenuation is always high, require a good understanding of the propagation path to be successful. We have spent several years investigating terahertz atmospheric propagation from two sites in northern Chile—the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) site near Cerro Chajnantor, and the site of the RLT on Cerro Sairecabur. Using an automated Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS), a large volume of atmospheric emission spectra, covering 300 GlIz – 3.5 THz, has been obtained from these sites under a full range of meteorological conditions. As part of this effort, we have developed a general-purpose atmospheric model for terahertz frequencies which is well-validated by these data. We continue to operate the FTS in conjunction with the RLT, and have found that the combined measurement and modeling capability is invaluable for calibrating the astronomical observations.
Categories:
Miscellaneous, Optics
Year:
2004
Session:
11
Full-text:
Download a PDF of this paper.
Page Number(s):
418-425