2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Continuing operation of the High Elevation Antarctic Terahertz (HEAT) telescope at Ridge A, Antarctica

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A-364-M/S Research Location(s): Ridge A


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jennifer Blum / Samina Ouda / Timothy Ager

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Craig Kulesa
University of Arizona Tucson
Steward Observatory
Tucson, Arizona

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Ridge A


Stars within the Milky Way are formed when giant gas clouds, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, collapse under their own gravity, thus heating up the gas to the point where nuclear fusion is triggered, and stars are formed. The life cycles of these interstellar clouds drive the internal evolution of all galaxies. This HEAT's science team studied the earliest stages of the formation of these clouds by observing the spectra from certain atomic and molecular species, which serve as tracers of these clouds. Outside of space, the Antarctic plateau on which the HEAT telescope is located is one of the few places on Earth that these observations can be made.

Field Season Overview

Three participants and one support contractor field safety coordinator will prepare at McMurdo Station for approximately one week before deploying to South Pole Station, where they will acclimatize before traveling to Ridge A by Twin Otter aircraft. The team will reside in a tent camp and begin the retrograde operations for the HEAT telescope and equipment. The retrograde activities will require up to five Twin Otter days to remove all items.

Deploying Team Members

  • Craig Kulesa (PI)