University of Chicago
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO)
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: