University of Chicago
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: Dark Sector
The South Pole Telescope (SPT) aids cosmological research by measuring the intensity and polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. The project's goal is detecting all galaxy clusters in this region of the sky through the spectral distortion they impart on the CMB. Called the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, it has the remarkable property of being independent of the distance to the cluster. The resulting SPT catalog of galaxy clusters is used to set constraints on the mysterious dark energy that dominates the Universe's mass-energy density and causes the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. The second key project started in 2012 with the installation of an ultra-sensitive polarization receiver. Through measurements of the polarization, researchers can determine the sum of the masses of the neutrinos and either detect or set stringent upper limits on the energy scale of inflation. The SPT polarization program will be increased in sensitivity by an order of magnitude this season with the SPT-3G deployment. This includes a 16,000-detector focal plane in a new receiver and an optics cryostat, new readout electronics, and a new secondary mirror.
Field Season Overview:
This coming austral summer season for the SPT project will be focused primarily on maintenance and calibration. There are no new major upgrades planned.
Deploying Team Members:
John Carlstrom (PI)
John Ruhl (Co-PI)