Comprehensive characterization of astronomical sites

Kislovodsk, Russia. 4–9 October 2010

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Tower of ASM of SAI

The conference is organized by the Sternberg Astronomical Institute (SAI) of Moscow University and the IAU Working group "Site-testing Instruments"

Scientific program

  1. Methods and instruments to measure/monitor all major site properties: turbulence parameters, extinction, water vapor, cloud cover, dust, light pollution.
  2. Results of recent and ongoing site programs (TMT, E-ELT, GMT, SAI, Antarctica, etc). Merit functions for site selection.
  3. Use of site data in telescope operation and adaptive optics.

Scientific organizing committee

Scientific rationale

Recent programs of site selection for large telescopes, needs to support adaptive optics and interferometry, and studies of Antarctic sites created a large momentum in this field. The progress is fast, new results are coming almost weekly. Recent conferences on this subject (2007, 2008) demonstrated great interest of the community, hence the need for a new meeting. The proposed schedule (fall 2010) relates to the completion of the major programs (TMT, E-ELT, GMT), with lessons from these efforts to be learned by others. The appearance of the MASS method in 2000 played a significant role in the current developments, and now, 10 years later, it is the good time to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and to outline future directions. The group of V.Kornilov is pivotal in MASS development. The conference will be located close to the robotic Caucasus site-testing station developed by SAI and will highlight the work of this group. The proximity of the Russian 6-m telescope and touristic attractions of the Caucasus region will favor an entertaining and informative cultural program for this conference. Unlike previous recent conferences, this meeting will cover all aspects of site monitoring for optical/IR astronomy. The meeting will define the most promising techniques for measuring water vapor content, dust, light pollution, etc.