Running PILOT: operational challenges and plans for an Antarctic Observatory

Andrew McGrath, Will Saunders, Peter Gillingham, David Ward, John Storey, Jon Lawrence, Roger Haynes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We highlight the operational challenges and planned solutions faced by an optical observatory taking advantage of the superior astronomical observing potential of the Antarctic plateau. Unique operational aspects of an Antarctic optical observatory arise from its remoteness, the polar environment and the unusual observing cycle afforded by long continuous periods of darkness and daylight. PILOT is planned to be run with remote observing via satellite communications, and must overcome both limited physical access and data transfer. Commissioning and lifetime operations must deal with extended logistics chains, continual wintertime darkness, extremely low temperatures and frost accumulation amidst other challenging issues considered in the PILOT operational plan, and discussed in this presentation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationObservatory Operations
Subtitle of host publicationStrategies, Processes, and Systems II
EditorsRoger J. Brissenden, David R. Silva
ISBN (Print)9780819472267
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II - Marseille, France
Duration: 24 Jun 200826 Jun 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceObservatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II


  • Antarctica
  • Observatory logistics
  • Telescope operations


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