And The Coldest, Driest, Calmest Spot On Earth Is . . . . .

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A team of research scientists searching for a place to build an observatory believe they may have just found the perfect spot - The coldest, driest and calmest place on Earth!

Simply dubbed 'Ridge A' the area, is situated on the Antarctica Peninsula, 600 miles from the South Pole at an altitude of 13,297 feet and has never been visited by humans.

The US-Australian research team that discovered Ridge A, with the help of satellite data, believe that it will make the perfect spot for an astronomical observation point - one that will take pictures that are on par with NASA's Hubble telescope.

That's because with an average temperature of negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 degree Celsius) and very little moisture, 'Ridge A' has no weather patterns. Additionally, the lack of winds and clouds provides for very little disturbance from the atmosphere that is responsible for the twinkling of stars. Lastly, because it is almost always dark, even moderately powerful telescopes will yield pictures that are much more superior than those taken by more powerful ones in the current observatories located in Hawaii and Chile.

Now that they have found the perfect spot, the next challenge is to get the equipment to the area. However, the scientists do have some experience here. Dome A, a similar site located 90 miles from Ridge A, was the first robotic laboratory to be established in January of 2008. Known as PLATO, the equipment had to be shipped off a Chinese coastal base and then taken by sleds, a process that took two weeks. However, it has been a tremendous success - and scientists are hoping that Ridge A will be the same if not better!

sources:wired.com,treehugger.com

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