Special Meeting SM4  22 – 23 June 2015

Databases for the Characterization of Astronomical Observatories

Aims and scope

The characterization of the atmosphere above astronomical observatories has become more and more important during the last few decades. The appropriate and rigorous determination of parameters such as seeing, useful observing time, extinction, sky brightness, water vapour content, etc., is essential for getting the most from an observing site.

Moreover, the need for comparison among these parameters -together with ever more demanding conditions for site to host important infrastructures - have been the leitmotiv for major instrument developments and efforts.

Extensive databases are now available from a number of instruments on satellites and other ground-based facilities operated by national meteorological agencies, and global parameters compiled by global climatic models. A number of parameters needed for studying existing and potential observing sites can now be accessed and analysed through public databases.

With this meeting we aim to: i) discuss results that validate databases useful for site characterization, and their use for long term statistical analysis of parameters with more than a 10-year temporal range, ii) explore the possibility to forecast for telescope operation and the use of forecasting models such as WRF for determining parameters such as water vapour and seeing. We will further discuss potential use of new, specific data in the current databases. Results on particular sites through the use of databases and forecasting tools will be specifically addressed in one session of the workshop.

This symposium aims unite complementary areas of expertise in site testing, meteorology, statistics, etc.


    The meeting will probably be scheduled for Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning and it will be divided in five blocks of 1.5 hours each.

    Talks will be the grouped in three sections:

    Most talks would be of 15 minutes. A few longer ones - of 30 minutes- will help as introduction of sections.

  • Sessions 1 and 2 // Databases
  • Sessions 3 and 4// Forecasting tools
  • Session 5// Results at particular sites
  • ...

Invited speakers

  • Edward Graham(University of the Highlands and Islands- UK)
  • Alex Mahalov(Arizona State University- USA)
  • Valentina Zitelli (Univ. Padova- Italy)
  • Antonia M. Varela(Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias- Spain)
  • Emilio Cuevas(Agencia Estatal de Meteorología- Spain)

Scientific organisers
Jean Vernin (Univ Nice-Fr) Sergio Ortolani (Univ Padova-It) Marc Sarazin (ESO-Germany) Casiana Muñoz-Tuñon (IAC-Spain)- Chair.

skyteam @ iac.es

Updated on Fri Jan 23 14:34:05 CET 2015