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Session 108 - HII Regions.
Display session, Thursday, January 18
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[108.11] First Results From the Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO)

A. P. Lane (CfA)

The highly automated 1.7-meter diameter AST/RO telescope and associated receiver systems were installed at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the 1994-95 summer season. The observatory has successfully completed its first winter of operation at the South Pole, attended by winterover scientist Richard A. Chamberlin of Boston University. The primary scientific objective of AST/RO during its first few years of operation is to carry out the first survey of the southern Galactic Plane, high-latitude clouds, and the Magellanic Clouds in the emission lines of neutral atomic carbon (CI) at 492 and 809 GHz. During Austral winter 1995, the observing program has concentrated on site characterization at 492 and 230 GHz, exploratory observations in the 492 GHz carbon line, and observations of molecular lines such as carbon monoxide and ozone in Earth's stratosphere.

AST/RO has made the first detection of the CI line from the Magellanic Clouds and from several high-latitude clouds. CI line maps have been made of selected regions near the Galactic Center and a number of compact HII regions. Preliminary observations along and across the Galactic Plane show that CI line emission is widely distributed at levels near 1 K antenna temperature. Skydips at 492 GHz have been made regularly and demonstrate that the South Pole is the best submillimeter-wave observatory site on Earth (cf. Chamberlin 1996, Ant. J. of the U.S.). During most of the winter, 492 GHz zenith opacities have averaged 0.6.

AST/RO is the result of a successful proposal to the NSF Office of Polar Programs in 1989 by A. A. Stark, J. Bally, and R. W. Wilson of ATamp;T Bell Laboratories, T. M. Bania and A. P. Lane of Boston University, and K.-Y. Lo of the University of Illinois. Since 1991, AST/RO has operated under the aegis of the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica (CARA), an NSF Science and Technology Center.

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