2010-2011 Science Planning Summaries
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2010-2011 Science Planning Summary Project Detail
Collaborative Research: BICEP2 and SPUD - A search for inflation with degree-scale polarimetry from the South Pole
Caption: A rendering of the new telescope array to be installed on the DASI mount at MAPO this season.

Photo by Chris Sheehy - Click to view larger image.

Caption: A rendering of the new telescope array to be installed on the DASI mount at MAPO this season. Photo by Chris Sheehy 

Astrophysics and Geospace Sciences
Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili


Julie Bonneau

University of Chicago
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Chicago, Illinois

Supporting Stations:  South Pole Station
Research Locations:  Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO)

Project Description:
The Cosmic Gravitational-wave Background (CGB) imprints a signature in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Detecting that signature is arguably the most important goal in cosmology today. BICEP is the first CMB polarimeter specifically designed to search for the signature of the CGB. Since 2006, BICEP has mapped about 2% of the sky that is uniquely free of galactic confusion. SPUD ( Pryke A-149-S, aka "The Keck Array") is an array of receivers similar to BICEP2 and together they provide a further increase in mapping speed and the possibility of multiple frequencies. These receivers are more compact, use pulse tube cryogenic refrigerators rather than liquid helium, and share the former DASI mount near MAPO. This work comprises two projects: Clem Pryke’s SPUD/Keck Array component (A-149), and John Kovac’s BICEP2 component (A-039).

Field Season Overview:
Early in the season, researchers will arrive at South Pole Station to work on the mount drive system and prepare for installing the new pulse-tube compressors in the DASI compressor room. Meanwhile, work will begin preparing the lab for installation of the new receivers.

As soon as the crane is operational in late November, the existing "theta drum" of the telescope mount will be replaced by a new one suited to the new receivers.

In December and early January, three receivers will arrive, along with additional team members who will integrate, test, and install the receivers and the associated read-out electronics and computers. Also during January and into February, researchers will conduct testing using calibration sources mounted on a tower on the Dark Sector Lab (DSL). By station closing the new array will be operational and collecting data.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Collin Bischoff
  • Charles Dowell
  • Bradley Johnson
  • John Kovac (Co-PI)
  • Chao-Lin Kuo
  • Martin Lueker
  • Hien Nguyen
  • Robert Schwarz
  • Chris Sheehy
  • Zachary Staniszewski
  • Sarah Stokes
  • James Tolan
  • Philip Wilson
  • Chin-Lin Wong

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs