Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: MAPO (Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory)
SPUD (Small Polarimeter Upgrade for DASI) is a next-generation instrument following on from the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) and BICEP2 program. It consists of multiple receivers similar to BICEP2 on the telescope mount originally built for the Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI) experiment. The research team's objective is the same as BICEP2 - to attempt to measure B-mode polarization caused by gravity waves spawned in the first tiny fraction of a second after the big bang by the process of "inflation." Inflation is the favored cosmogenic model, and finding direct "smoking gun" evidence for it is one of the highest priorities in cosmology today. SPUD increases sensitivity over BICEP2 by increasing the number of detectors and by expanding to other frequencies to identify and mitigate possible foreground contamination.
Field Season Overview:
This season a team of 15 will conduct season-ending calibrations on the receivers. All five receivers will then be taken down to the lab and serviced. In mid November a sixth receiver will arrive on station to replace an existing one. The other four existing receivers will be disassembled and a subtle optical problem which has recently been identified will be addressed.
Deploying Team Members:
John Kovac (PI)
Clement Pryke (Co-PI)