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SCAR Executive Committee Meeting
30-31 July, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
SCAR EXCOM 2019 Paper 18: Report from AAA Expert Group
Astronomy and Astrophysics from Antarctica (AAA) Expert Group, 2018-19 Report
Agenda Item: 9
Person Responsible: Tony Travouillon
Report Author: Tony Travouillon (AAA chair), The Australian National University, Australia
The Astronomy and Astrophysics from Antarctica (AAA) expert group finished the 2018-2019 year holding its 5th bi-annual science workshop (https://scar2019.oavda.it/). The meeting was held in June 2019 at the Mont-Blanc conference centre in Italy. 42 astronomers met to discuss the latest scientific results from observations taken from the South Pole, Dome C, Dome A and by circumpolar balloons. Upgrades and future projects were also presented establishing clear scientific objectives for the future of astronomy at the different sites, taking into account the strengths and restrictions of each location on the plateau. The polar institutes of countries operating bases on the high plateau were invited to present the status of operation and the expected level of logistical support they can offer to scientist over the next few years. The AAA SCAR budget for 2019 was in large part ($4,600) used to help participants attend the meeting prioritizing the early career scientists and minorities. The organising committee was able to leverage the SCAR contribution to obtain local funds from the Aosta Valley tourism office and government to bring the conference fee well below cost.
The AAA steering committee has met quarterly by teleconference. Dr Tony Travouillon has replaced Prof Anna Moore as the chair of the AAA expert group and as the IAU delegate at the beginning of 2019. His priority will be to deliver on the wish of AAA members to become of full-fledged science group. The steering committee meeting were also spent focusing on features that the groups new website should include. This new website is nearing completion and is expected to go live in August 2019, replacing the current website at www.astronomy.scar.org. The new features will focus on providing astronomers with information on existing projects and partnerships operating in Antarctica and encourage new collaborations. The website will also improve one of its main feature, with access to an updated list of publications on the atmospheric conditions of the different sites that will help astronomers determine the expected performance of observatories to be located on the Antarctic plateau.