Keeping the Observatorios de Canarias (OOCC) among the most competitive sites in the World for astronomical observation requires a continuous effort to characterize the conditions of the atmosphere above them. The techniques and instrumentation must be on the state of the art, appropriate parameters must be identified, and measurements must be obtained, both in real time and in long-term time-series for statistical studies. The IAC has been addressing this challenge institutionally since 1990, with the Sky Quality Team (SQT).
The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the IAC has signed the ERDF Agreement INSIDE-OOCC to guarantee the implementation of 11 sub-actions of the Strategic Plan approved for the Observatorios de Canarias in 2018. It includes a strategic investments for updating and substantial improvement of activities related to the atmospheric characterization of the OOCC. The SQT manages the execution of this sub-action (budget of 410 keuros), including the following actions:
- Development and implementation of atmospheric extinction monitors for the OOCC (COXMo project).
- Improvement and implementation of instruments complementary to Adaptive Optics. Among them, a mesospheric Na monitor supporting Laser Guide Stars subsystems.
- Updating of the team data management software (SkyDaMa package).
- Development and implementation of a software for reduction and analysis of sky background data.
- Extension of the numerical operational forecasting system ForO to optical quality parameters.