The International Concordia Explorer Telescope

The International Concordia Explorer Telescope

Design study, Ice-T in it's dome

The prime objective of ICE-T is to investigate the combined effects of extra-solar planets, stellar magnetic activity and non-radial pulsations on the structure and evolution of stars, as well as their internal dynamics and dynamo activity. Continuous observing at very high photometric precision is needed to detect planets and to characterize the evolution of stellar surface structures. Our technical goal is to perform a deep variability survey down to V = 22 mag along three representative star fields in the Milky Way. The main science goal is to determine the activity and rotation of stars hosting planets, brown dwarfs, or other very low-mass dwarfs by following their light and colour curves. Do planets influence or even modulate the magnetic activity of its hosting solar-type star? Is the angular-momentum history of cool stars linked to the formation of planets?

 

 

Transits

The probability for a Earth-Sun transit from a set of random orientations is just 0.5%. This implies a sample of 20,000 GKM dwarfs must be observed to allow for a statistically significant detection of an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone. This calls for large field-of-views. Thus we aim for a 8°x8° square field on a double Wynne-Schmidt telescope with a 81-cm mirror and an entrance aperture of 60 cm on a single mount. The twin design allows us to cover two band-passes simultaneously. Three field have been proposed, each to be observed continuously for about 100 consecutive nights. The directions of the fields are 1) near the galactic plane, 2) directly towards the celestial pole, and 3) near the galactiv pole. This should lead to pencil-beam statistics of stellar variability and improved planetary statistics in the local part of the Milky Way and complement the expected GAIA data.

 

field 1 - near the galactic plane Expected planet catch for field 1 A 10kx10k CCD envisioned for Ice-T

 

Site

 

Ice-T should go to the new Astro-campus developed at the International Concordia station at the Antarctic Dome C mountain at an elevation of 3233m. It is probably one of the best astronomical sites in the world. Its location at 75°06' South allows for a consecutive dark time of more than 100 days during winter. Limited internet access requires the bulk of the data to be ship during Antarctic summer .

Dome C combines geographic advantages, altitude>300m (magenta), a slope<1/1000 (red) and a snow accumulation rate < 5g/cm2/yr (blue) with the fact that the Auroral oval stays below the horizon (green). Additionally, geostationary satellites are still above the horizon (grey).

photo by Guillaume Dargaud from Dome C FAQ

 

Project stopped 2010 due to unclear access and cost participation situation.