Journal Article

An astroclimatological study of candidate sites to host an imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope in Romania

A. A. Radu, T. Angelescu, V. Curtef, D. Felea, D. Hasegan, B. Lucaschi, A. Manea, V. Popa and I. Ralita

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 422, issue 3, pages 2262-2273
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
An astroclimatological study of candidate sites to host an imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope in Romania

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This paper presents an astroclimatological study of meteorological data on relative humidity, dew-point temperature, air temperature, wind speed and barometric air pressure recorded at four Romanian locations (Baisoara, Rosia Montana, Semenic, Ceahlau) and the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) located at the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM), on the island of La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.

Long-term trends of microclimates are compared in order to identify site-to-site variations. We performed this analysis as part of a site testing campaign aimed at finding the best location for the establishment of a small Cherenkov telescope in Romania. The conditions at the Romanian sites are compared with those of the Canary Islands considered as a reference.

A statistical approach is used for data analysis. Monthly and annual samples are extracted from series of raw data for night-time, day-time and entire-day intervals. For each of these samples, the median values, the standard deviations and the percentages of time when the weather conditions were suitable for the safe operation of a Cherenkov telescope are computed. The distributions of these medians, standard deviations and percentages are analysed in this paper.

Significant differences are found between the Romanian sites and the NOT site. The comparison of the Romanian locations indicates Baisoara to be the best site for the establishment of the telescope, closely followed by Rosia Montana. As these two sites are both located in the Apuseni Mountains, we consider this area to be the optimal place for performing astronomical observations in Romania.

Keywords: site testing; telescopes; Earth

Journal Article.  6797 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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