Astronomical site selection: on the use of satellite data for aerosol content monitoring

Varela, A. M.; Bertolin, C.; Muñoz-Tuñón, C.; Ortolani, S.; Fuensalida, J. J.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 391, Issue 2, pp. 507-520.

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The main goal of this work is to analyse new approaches to the study of the properties of astronomical sites. In particular, satellite data measuring aerosols have recently been proposed as a useful technique for site characterization and searching for new sites to host future very large telescopes. Nevertheless, these data need to be critically considered and interpreted in accordance with the spatial resolution and spectroscopic channels used. In this paper, we have explored and retrieved measurements from satellites with high spatial and temporal resolutions and concentrated on channels of astronomical interest. The selected data sets are the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on board the NASA Aura satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on board the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites. A comparison of remote-sensing and in situ techniques is discussed. As a result, we find that aerosol data provided by satellites up to now are not reliable enough for aerosol site characterization, and in situ data are required.
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