Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 9:15 AM
Lidar to Support Ground-Based Astronomy
207B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
The Georgia Tech Research Institute and the University of New Mexico are developing a compact, rugged, cost-effective, eye-safe lidar to be used for measuring atmospheric extinction in support of the second generation of the CCD/Transit Instrument (CTI-II). The CTI-II is a 1.8 meter telescope that will be used to accomplish a precise time-domain imaging photometric and astrometric survey at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The micropulse lidar will transmit 100 mW at 527 nm wavelength, and a 67-cm astronomical telescope will be used as the receiver. The lidar will be used in four different modes in support of the CTI-II: pointing in a fixed direction, co-aligned with the telescope, zenith-angle scanning, and sky dome mapping. The lidar will be capable of mapping the sky dome in 17 directions at a rate of three complete scans per hour in order to provide real-time measurements of the amount of atmospheric extinction as well as its cause, i.e. low-lying aerosols, dust or smoke in the free troposphere, or high cirrus. The goal of this project is to develop reliable, cost-effective lidar technology for any observatory in order to provide greater integrity for ground based data. This project is funded by NSF Grant Number 0421087.