The Gattino project is a collaboration between Australian, French, Italian, and US astronomers on a series of site testing instruments. These instruments were deployed to the Italian/French station at Dome C on the Antarctic plateau in January 2006. The instruments are designed to measure the visible sky background, cloud cover statistics, and atmospheric turbulence in the surface layer.
The SBC (Sky Background Camera) consists of an Apogee Alta USB CCD array (1200 x 1600 pixels) with a ~ 5 x 4 degree field of view. It is equipped with a SDSS g' filter (with a bandpass from ~400-550 nm). This camera is designed to give an absolute calibratation of the visible sky background at Dome C (with a sensitivity of less than 22 mags/arcsec2). The Sky Camera utilises a similar CCD array but with a longer focal length lens giving a wide field of view (100 x 80 degrees). This is designed to give statistics on auroral distribution and cloud cover. Both cameras are installed in thermally controlled fibreglass cases.
The SHABAR (Shadow Band Ranger) consists of an array of seven photodiodes which will measure the variation of lunar intensity as a function of time. The correlation of scintillation of the extended lunar source between the 21 pairs of detectors can be used to derive the profile of night-time turbulence within the ground layer. A custom built PC104 computer stack running Linux OS controls all aspects of data collection, and tranfers a limited amount of data via the iridium satellite network.
The following institutions are involved in the GATTINO collaboration:
Logistics and financial support in provided by: