China builds observatory at South Pole

March 21, 2008

An international team led by China has installed an automated space observatory at Dome Argus, the highest point on the South Pole.

The Polar Research Institute of China completed installation work last month on the fully robotic Plateau Observatory on the Antarctic icecap peak, which is 13,428 feet above sea level.

Texas A&M astrophysicist Lifan Wang said data from the observatory are expected to provide insights into the universe once possible only through observations from space.

"Dome Argus is believed to be the best site for ground-based astronomy," Wang, head of the Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy, said in a release. "Unlike the stormy Antarctic coast, the plateau is a very quiet place with very low wind speed. It is the coldest and driest place on Earth. These are critical conditions of a good site at which to build an observatory."

The observatory must operate completely unattended until Chinese scientists return to Dome Argus next January, the university said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: What is the Earth's average temperature?

Related Stories

What is the Earth's average temperature?

August 19, 2015

Earth is the only planet in the solar system where life is known to exists. Note the use of the word "known", which is indicative of the fact that our knowledge of the solar system is still in its infancy, and the search ...

Origin of Alps-size Antarctic mountain range unknown

October 15, 2008

A U.S.-led, multinational team of scientists this month will investigate one of the Earth's last major unexplored places, using sophisticated airborne radar and ground-based seismologic tools to virtually peel away more than ...

Recommended for you

Predictable ecosystems may be more fragile

October 7, 2015

When it comes to using our natural resources, human beings want to know what we're going to get. We expect clean water every time we turn on the tap; beaches free of algae and bacteria; and robust harvests of crops, fish ...

History shows more big wildfires likely as climate warms

October 5, 2015

The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to new study led by a University of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.