2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Imaging the beginning of time from the South Pole: Observations with the full SPUD array

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

Event Number: A-149-S

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Paul Sullivan

Dr. John Kovac (Principal Investigator)
http://bicepkeck.org/External Non U.S. Government Site

Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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

Project Description:
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 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:

  • Zeeshan Ahmed
  • Colin Bischoff
  • Eric Bullock
  • Stefan Fliescher
  • Howard Hui
  • Kirit Karkare
  • John Kovac (PI)
  • Martin Lueker
  • Hien Nguyen
  • Clement Pryke (Co-PI)
  • Robert Schwarz
  • Sarah Stokes
  • Grant Teply
  • Abigail Vieregg

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