Numerical Simulations of Airflow at Gemini Telescope Sites

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Session 11 -- Gemini, Keck, Seeing
Display presentation, Wednesday, January 12, 9:30-6:45, Salons I/II Room (Crystal Gateway)

[11.04] Numerical Simulations of Airflow at Gemini Telescope Sites

Richard Charles (San Diego Supercomputer Center), David S. De Young (KPNO/NOAO)

In order to determine the optimum location of the Gemini 8 meter telescopes it is desirable to know the airflow characteristics at the proposed sites. Similarly, a determination of the height of the telescope pier requires some knowledge of the thickness of the turbulent boundary layer under various conditions at the proposed sites. On site testing provides valuable data but over a limited range of wind conditions and only at specific points. In order to better understand the ambient wind flow at the proposed sites, three dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the airflow over the top of Mauna Kea and over Cerro Pachon in Chile were carried out with the facilities at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The results of these calculations will be presented. They show that the summit ridge at Mauna Kea to be an excellent site, though the off ridge locations are less desirable, and that either of the proposed sites on Cerro Pachon will meet the desired criteria. They also show that a telescope pier height of 15-20m will place the telescopes above the turbulent boundary layer under almost all conditions.

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