|Location in Antarctica||Dome C|
|Elevation||3,233 m (10,607 ft)|
|Website||Concordia Institut Polaire Français|
Concordia Research Station, which opened in 2005, is a French–Italian research facility that was built 3,233 m (10,607 ft) above sea level at a location called Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica. It is located 1,100 km (680 mi) inland from the French research station at Dumont D'Urville, 1,100 km (680 mi) inland from Australia's Casey Station and 1,200 km (750 mi) inland from the Italian Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay. Russia's Vostok Station is 560 km (350 mi) away. The Geographic South Pole is 1,670 km (1,040 mi) away. The facility is also located within Australia's claim on Antarctica, the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Concordia Station is the third permanent, all-year research station on the Antarctic Plateau besides Vostok Station (Russian) and the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station (U.S.) at the Geographic South Pole. It is jointly operated by scientists from France and Italy and regularly hosts ESA scientists.
In 1992, France built a new station on the Antarctic Plateau. The program was later joined by Italy in 1993.
In 1995, Pr. Jean Vernin from University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis and Pr. Giorgio Dall'Oglio from University of Rome performed the first scientific experience towards a site qualification at Dome C.
In 1996, a French-Italian team established a summer camp at Dome C. The two main objectives of the camp were the provision of logistical support for the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) and the construction of a permanent research station.
The new all-year facility, Concordia Station, became operational in 2005. The first winterover began with a staff of 13 (eleven French and 2 Italians) in February 2005.
|Operator||National Antarctic Research Program|
|Elevation AMSL||10,725 ft / 3,269 m|
Most of the cargo is moved to Dome C by traverse from Dumont d'Urville Station, covering 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) in 7 to 12 days depending on weather conditions. Station personnel and light cargo arrive by air, landing on a Skiway, using the Twin Otters or Basler BT-67 flying from DDU or Zucchelli Station at 1,200 kilometres (750 mi).
Dome C is situated on top of the Antarctic Plateau. No animals or plants live at a distance of more than a few tens of kilometers from the Southern Ocean. However, south polar skuas have been spotted overflying the station, 1,200 km away from their nearest food sources. It is believed that these birds have learned to cross the continent instead of circumnavigating it.
Concordia Station shares many stressor characteristics similar to that of long-duration deep-space missions, in particular extreme isolation and confinement, and therefore serves as a useful analogue platform for research relevant to space medicine. During the winter, the crew are isolated from the outside world, having no transportation and limited communication for 9 months and live a prolonged period in complete darkness, at an altitude almost equivalent to 4000m at the equator. This creates physiological and psychological strains on the crew. Concordia station is particularly useful for the study of chronic hypobaric hypoxia, stress secondary to confinement and isolation, circadian rhythm and sleep disruption, individual and group psychology, telemedicine, and astrobiology. Concordia station has been proposed as one of the real-life Earth-based analogues for long-duration deep-space missions.
In the 1970s, Dome C was the site of ice core drilling by field teams of several nations. In the 1990s, Dome C was chosen for deep ice core drilling by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). Drilling at Dome C began in 1996 and was completed on December 21, 2004, reaching a drilling depth of 3270.2 m, 5 m above bedrock. The age of the oldest recovered ice is estimated to be ca. 900,000 years.
Concordia Station has been identified as a suitable location for extremely accurate astronomical observations. The transparency of the Antarctic atmosphere permits the observation of stars even when the sun is at an elevation angle of 38°. Other advantages include the very low infrared sky emission, the high percentage of cloud-free time and the low aerosol and dust content of the atmosphere.
The median seeing measured with a DIMM Differential Image Motion Monitor  placed on top of an 8.5 m high tower is 1.3 ± 0.8 arcseconds. This is significantly worse than most major observatory sites, but similar to other observatories in Antarctica. However, Lawrence et al. consider other features of the site and conclude that "Dome C is the best ground-based site to develop a new astronomical observatory". Note however that this was written before whole-atmospheric seeing measurements had been made at Dome C.
Thanks to the Single Star Scidar SSS, Vernin, Chadid and Aristidi et al. and Giordano, Vernin and Chadid et al. finally demonstrated that most of the optical turbulence is concentrated within the first 30 m atmospheric level at Dome C. The rest of the atmosphere is very quiet with a seeing of about 0.3-0.4 arcseconds, and the overall seeing is somewhat around 1.0 arcseconds.
Launched in 2007, PAIX the first robotic multi-color Antarctica Photometer gives a new insight to cope with unresolved stellar enigma and stellar oscillation challenges and offers a great opportunity to benefit from an access to the best astronomical site on Earth –Dome C–. Indeed, Chadid, Vernin, Preston et al. implement, for the first time from the ground, a new way to study the stellar oscillations, pulsations and their evolutionary properties with long uninterrupted and continuous precision observations over 150 days, and without the regular interruptions imposed by the Earth rotation. PAIX achieves astrophysical UBVRI bands time-series measurements of stellar physics fields, challenging photometry from Space.
The Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets (ASTEP) programme is composed of two telescopes: a 10 cm refractor installed in 2008, and a 40 cm telescope installed in 2010 and upgraded in 2022.
The climate at Dome C where Concordia Station is located is frigid all year round, being one of the coldest places on Earth. It has a polar ice cap climate (Köppen EF), with maximums ranging from −24.8 °C (−12.6 °F) in December to −62 °C (−80 °F) in May, mean ranging from −30.4 °C (−22.7 °F) in December to −65.3 °C (−85.5 °F) in May and minimums ranging from −36.1 °C (−33.0 °F) in December to −68.7 °C (−91.7 °F) in May. The annual average air temperature is −54.5 °C (−66.1 °F). The station has never recorded a temperature above freezing; the warmest temperature recorded was −5.4 °C (22.3 °F) in January.[year needed] Temperatures can fall below −80 °C (−112 °F) in winter, and the coldest recorded temperature was −84.6 °C (−120.3 °F) in August 2010; one of the coldest temperatures ever recorded on Earth.
Humidity is low and it is also very dry, with very little precipitation throughout the year.
Dome C does not experience the katabatic winds typical for the coastal regions of Antarctica because of its elevated location and its relative distance from the edges of the Antarctic Plateau. Typical wind speed in winter is 2.8 m/s.
|Climate data for Concordia|
|Record high °C (°F)||−5.4
|Average high °C (°F)||−24.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−31.1
|Average low °C (°F)||−37.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−46.7
While the station has been in use for summer campaigns since December 1997, the first winterover (February to October) was only made in 2005. During this period, the station is inaccessible, requiring total autonomy.
The first winter began in mid-February 2005, with thirteen wintering (eleven French people and two Italians):
In September 2005 the highest temperature was −48 °C, with an average in August of −60.2 °C and a record of −78.6 °C on 1 September. At these temperatures, trips outside had to be performed with the utmost care. Those going outside travelled at least in pairs and were equipped with a radio, spare batteries and a full fleece suit, with only the eyes at times visible. Italian Glaciologist Emanuele Salvietti had to take snow samples every day one kilometre from the base. As he had to walk (because no vehicle operates at these temperatures), he built a full face mask, with only a pipe to breathe. The slightest mistake would lead to certain injury, as astronomer Agabi Karim explained: "Burns on the cheeks and eyelashes glued to the lens of the telescope," after exposure to the freezing cold.
The second winter was conducted from February to November 2006 with a team of ten wintering (six French and four Italian):
The record temperature for this winter was measured at −80 °C on 5 September 2006 at 2:37 ET was renewed several times.
The third winter ran from February to November 2007 with a team of wintering composed of fourteen people (eight French and six Italian):
The average temperature was −65 °C and the minimum temperature recorded was −81.9 °C reached on September 5.
The fourth winter took place from 31 January 2008 to 8 November 2008 with a team consisting of thirteen winter-overs (seven French and six Italian):
The fifth wintering took place from February 2009 to November 2009 with a team of twelve people (eight French, three Italian and one British):
This Wintering took place with a team of thirteen (six French, six Italian and one Czech):
The seventh wintering took place with a team of 14 people (seven French, six Italian and one British):
The eighth wintering took place with a team of 13 people (seven French, four Italian, one Russian and one British):
The ninth wintering took place with a team of 15 people (nine French, five Italian and one Greek):
The tenth wintering took place with a team of 13 people (six French, five Italian, one Russian and one Greek):
During the 2014 Antarctic winter Concordia was an active amateur radio station: Paride Legovini operated from there on a weekly basis with call sign IA/IZ3SUS. The HF radio equipment consists in a Rohde & Schwarz XK2100L transceiver with a 150W RF output and a delta loop antenna located a few hundreds of meters away from the station.
The analemma (path that the sun follows in the sky if photographed at precisely the same time every week through the course of a year) was imaged for the first time ever in Antarctica by Adrianos Golemis during the 10th winterover mission at Concordia Station (2013–2014). The resulting composite exposure image was selected as NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on 23 September 2015.
The eleventh wintering is taking place from February 2015 to November 2015 with a team of 13 people (six French, five Italian, one British and one Swiss):
The twelfth winter began on February 10, 2016, with twelve overwintering (five Italian, six French, one Dutch):
The thirteenth winter began on February 9, 2017, with thirteen overwintering (five French, seven Italian, one Belgian Canadian):
The fourteenth winter began on February 6, 2018, with thirteen overwintering (five French, seven Italian, one Austrian):
The fifteenth winter began on February 13, 2019, with thirteen overwintering (five French, six Italian, one Danish and one Australian):
The sixteenth winter began on February 7, 2020, with twelve overwintering (seven French, four Italian, one Dutch):
The seventeenth winter began on January 31, 2021, with twelve overwintering (five French, six Italian, one British):
The eighteenth winter began on 7 February 2022, with thirteen overwintering (six French, six Italian and one Swedish):