AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 28 Astronomical Observatories
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[28.02] Looking for Correlations Between Dust Events and Weather at Observatories

C. A. Villanova, M. J. Creech-Eakman (NMT/MRO)

An important issue affecting ground-based observatories is the local conditions, especially dust in the atmosphere. Dust events can appear suddenly and without warning, and can be very detrimental to a telescope’s optics. Due to these dust events, optics may be required to undergo cleaning and recoating which can cost the observatory a substantial amount of money, in addition to lost observing time. This research involves the statistical analysis of data obtained from the Apache Point Observatory, in Sunspot, New Mexico, which has similar weather conditions to the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer site. The objective of this work is to find a correlation between dust events and certain weather effects, such as changes in pressure, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. It is the goal of this research to predict dust events by identifying weather effects that precede dust events. This work is supported through grant money from LANL to NMT.

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