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Maidanak observatory

   


   
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Maidanak observatory
Department of geodinamics
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Maidanak Observatory (6656' E, 3841' N) is located at the south-east of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It lies on the spurs of the Pamir Alai mountain system at 2000 m above sea level. This summit was selected for astronomical observations in the late 60-s a result of a ten-year long site assessment campaign organized at the Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute (UBAI) of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences.

The studies of the Mt. Maidanak astroclimate continued through the 80-s and up to the beginning of the 90-s by several groups of researchers using different methods and instruments. But those groups give different values of seeing due to the limitation of the methods and systematic errors of the instruments used. Seeing measurements with a Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM), designed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and used to estimate the seeing at the La Silla and Paranal Observatories in Chile have been carrying out at Mt. Maidanak since August 1996. The median value of the seeing at Mt. Maidanak for the last three years of observations is 0.69 arcsec. For the La Silla and Paranal Observatories, the value of this parameter are 0.87 and 0.66 arcsec, respectively. It is indicated that Mt. Maidanak is one of the most favourable site for astronomical observations.

When the high-quality atmospheric conditions of Mt. Maidanak were established with a modern instrumentation, the next step was to measure other atmospheric parameters relevant to adaptive optics and interferometry, such as wavefront outer scale, isoplanatic angle, high altitude wind. In July 1998 during a site testing campaign, supported by INTAS-096-37 grant, all these parameters were measured with the Generalized Seeing Monitor (GSM) developed at the University of Nice.

Comparison of the all these atmospheric parameters of Mt. Maidanak with ones at other well known observatories show that Mt. Maidanak is a favorable site for future installation of an extremely large telescopes. Exeptional futures of Mt. Maidanak are very low wind speed and geographical location at middistance between two international astronomical facilities at Canaries and Hawaii.

 

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