First characterization of Jbel Aklim in Moroccan Anti-Atlas as a potential site for the E-ELT
Meteorological parameters and seeing measurements
M. Sabil1, Z. Benkhaldoun1, M. Lazrek1, A. Benhida1,2, Y. Hach1, A. Habib1,3 and A. Bounhir1,2
High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Laboratory (LPHEA), Université Cadi
Ayyad, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Av. Prince My Abdellah, BP 2390
2 Département de Physique Appliquée, Facultée des Sciences et Techniques, UCAM, BP 549 Marrakesh, Morocco
3 École Normale Supérieure, route Essaouira, Laboratoire optique et optoélectronique, 4000 Marrakesh, Morocco
Accepted: 11 July 2010
Context. In the framework of the European Extremely Large Telescope project (E-ELT), a survey of prospective sites was launched by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to select a site to host the next generation of optical telescopes of 42 m diameter, i.e., the E-ELT. The Moroccan Anti-Atlas (Jbel Aklim) was selected as one of these sites.
Aims. We present an analysis of meteorological parameters and seeing measurements at Aklim, the Moroccan prospective site of the E-ELT project.
Methods. We initiated a preliminary campaign to measure the astronomical seeing at Jbel Aklim using a differential image motion monitor (DIMM) instrument. We installed a weather station 2 m above the ground level to measure meteorological parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, pressure, wind speed, and wind direction.
Results. We present data obtained by the DIMM monitor during 105 nights. The median and mean values of the seeing for the entire period of observation are 0.72′′ and 0.79′′, respectively, with a standard deviation of 0.31′′. The best value of the seeing obtained during this period is 0.30′′. A seasonal analysis of meteorological parameters are presented. We also used data from the National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis database (NCEP/NCAR) to derive more information about the long-term evolution of atmospheric parameters at Aklim site.
Conclusions. Our preliminary results indicate that Aklim has indeed good conditions for conducting astronomical observations and could be a site to host a future astronomical observatory, even of E-ELT dimensions.
Key words: atmospheric effects / site testing / surveys
© ESO, 2010