2019-2020 Science Planning Summaries
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2019-2020 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): South Pole


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1852617

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Paul Sullivan / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

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


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: South Pole


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 to detect 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 plan for the upcoming season is to perform maintenance on the telescope drive electronics and the SPT-3G and Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) receivers. The work on the SPT telescope drive system is meant to fix major issues that have interrupted winter observations for the past two seasons. Other SPT tasking and maintenance projects this season include: (1) inspecting the telescope backing structure, cover-plates, and insulation; (2) servicing and maintaining the telescope components and computer systems; (3) upgrading and servicing the computer; (4) cryogenic maintenance of the SPT and optics cryostats; and (5) training winterover personnel.

Deploying Team Members

  • Amy Bender
  • Bradford Benson
  • Steele Diggles
  • Kyle Ferguson
  • Allen Foster
  • Anne Gambrel
  • John Hood
  • Junhan Kim
  • Amy Lowitz
  • Stephen Padin
  • Stephen Padin
  • David Pernic
  • Alexandra Rahlin
  • Mel Rose
  • Matthew Young