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Search for Best Astronomical Observatory Sites in the MENA Region using Satellite Measurements

Abstract : We perform a systematic search for astronomical observatory sites in the MENA (Middle-East and North Africa) region using space-based data for all the relevant factors, i.e. altitude (DEM), cloud fraction (CF), light pollution (NTL), precipitable water vapor (PWV), aerosol optical depth (AOD), relative humidity (RH), wind speed (WS), Richardson Number (RN), and diurnal temperature range (DTR). We look for the best locations overall even where altitudes are low (the threshold that we normally consider being 1,500 m) or where the combination of the afore-mentioned determining factors had previously excluded all locations in a given country. In this aim, we use the rich data that Earth-observing satellites provide, e.g. the Terra and Aqua multi-national NASA research satellites, with their MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder) instruments, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS), and other products from climate diagnostics archives (e.g. MERRA). We present preliminary results on the best locations for the region.
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Gillali Abdelaziz, Ridha Guebsi, Nidhal Guessoum, Cyrille Flamant. Search for Best Astronomical Observatory Sites in the MENA Region using Satellite Measurements. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, IOP Publishing, 2017, Frontiers in Theoretical and Applied Physics/UAE 2017 (FTAPS 2017) 22–25 February 2017, American University of Sharjah (AUS), UAE, 869, pp.012070. ⟨10.1088/1742-6596/869/1/012070⟩. ⟨insu-01562630⟩

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