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The Science Case for PILOT I: Summary and Overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2013

J. S. Lawrence*
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
M. C. B. Ashley
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
J. Bailey
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
D. Barrado y Navascues
Affiliation:
Laboratorio de Astrofísca Espacial y Física Fundamental (INTA), Madrid 28080, Spain
T. R. Bedding
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006
J. Bland-Hawthorn
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006
I. Bond
Affiliation:
Massey University, Auckland 0745, New Zealand
F. Boulanger
Affiliation:
Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay 91405, France
R. Bouwens
Affiliation:
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
H. Bruntt
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006
A. Bunker
Affiliation:
Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710
D. Burgarella
Affiliation:
Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence, Université d'Aix-Marseille, Marseille 13388, France
M. G. Burton
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
M. Busso
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Perugia, Perugia 06123, Italy
D. Coward
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009
M.-R. Cioni
Affiliation:
Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
G. Durand
Affiliation:
Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Saclay 91191, France
C. Eiroa
Affiliation:
Departmento de Fisica Teórica C-XI, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain
N. Epchtein
Affiliation:
CNRS-Fizeau/UNSA, Nice 06108, France
N. Gehrels
Affiliation:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
P. Gillingham
Affiliation:
Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710
K. Glazebrook
Affiliation:
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC 3122
R. Haynes
Affiliation:
Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710
L. Kiss
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006
P. O. Lagage
Affiliation:
Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Saclay 91191, France
T. Le Bertre
Affiliation:
Observatoire de Paris, Paris 75014, France
C. Mackay
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
J. P. Maillard
Affiliation:
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, Paris 75014, France
A. McGrath
Affiliation:
Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710
V. Minier
Affiliation:
Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Saclay 91191, France
A. Mora
Affiliation:
Departmento de Fisica Teórica C-XI, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain
K. Olsen
Affiliation:
Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
P. Persi
Affiliation:
Istituto Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica/INAF, Roma 00100, Italy
K. Pimbblet
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072
R. Quimby
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
W. Saunders
Affiliation:
Anglo-Australian Observatory, NSW 1710
B. Schmidt
Affiliation:
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, ACT 2611
D. Stello
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, NSW 2006
J. W. V. Storey
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
C. Tinney
Affiliation:
School of Physics, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052
P. Tremblin
Affiliation:
Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, Saclay 91191, France
J. C. Wheeler
Affiliation:
Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA
P. Yock
Affiliation:
University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*
DCorresponding author. Email: jsl@science.mq.edu.au
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Abstract

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PILOT (the Pathfinder for an International Large Optical Telescope) is a proposed 2.5-m optical/infrared telescope to be located at Dome C on the Antarctic plateau. Conditions at Dome C are known to be exceptional for astronomy. The seeing (above ∼30 m height), coherence time, and isoplanatic angle are all twice as good as at typical mid-latitude sites, while the water-vapour column, and the atmosphere and telescope thermal emission are all an order of magnitude better. These conditions enable a unique scientific capability for PILOT, which is addressed in this series of papers. The current paper presents an overview of the optical and instrumentation suite for PILOT and its expected performance, a summary of the key science goals and observational approach for the facility, a discussion of the synergies between the science goals for PILOT and other telescopes, and a discussion of the future of Antarctic astronomy. Paper II and Paper III present details of the science projects divided, respectively, between the distant Universe (i.e. studies of first light, and the assembly and evolution of structure) and the nearby Universe (i.e. studies of Local Group galaxies, the Milky Way, and the Solar System).

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Astronomical Society of Australia 2009

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