2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Cosmological research with the 10-meter South Pole Telescope

Cosmological research with the 10-meter South Pole Telescope
A-379-S Research Location(s): Dark Sector


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1852617

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Paul Sullivan / Timothy Ager / Neal Scheibe / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Carlstrom
University of Chicago
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Chicago, Illinois

Project Web Site:


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 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.

Field Season Overview

The team will perform maintenance on the telescope drive electronics, and the SPT-3G and Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) receivers. The SPT-3G receiver upgrade will require removal of the cryostat from the telescope, and opening it up to replace portions of the optics and cold-readout hardware. Most of this work will happen in November and December, with a goal of having the receiver re-installed on the telescope by the end of December. Support contractor staff will install chain-link fencing in the former load-leveler room and work with the researchers on configuring the rest of the space.

Deploying Team Members

  • Adam Anderson
  • Jessica Avva
  • Amy Bender
  • Bradford Benson
  • John Carlstrom (PI)
  • Thomas Crawford
  • Allen Foster
  • Sam Guns
  • Nicholas Huang
  • Junhan Kim
  • Milo Korman
  • Donna Kubik
  • Amy Lowitz
  • Daniel Marrone
  • Joshua Montgomery
  • Andrew Nadolski
  • Stephen Padin (Co-PI)
  • Stephen Padin (Co-PI)
  • David Pernic
  • Alexandra Rahlin
  • Mel Rose
  • Joshua Sobrin
  • Judith Stephen
  • Matthew Young