South Pole Telescope

South Pole Telescope

South Pole Telescope

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The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10 metre (394 in) diameter telescope located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. It is a microwave/millimetre-wave telescope that observes in a frequency range between 70 and 300 GHz. The primary science goal for SPT is to conduct a survey to find several thousand clusters of galaxies, which should allow interesting constraints on the Dark Energy equation of state.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the University of Colorado-Boulder, McGill University, and University of California at Davis. It is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Microwave/millimeter-wave observations at the South Pole

The South Pole is the premier observing site in the world for millimeter-wavelength observations. The Pole's high altitude (2.8 km/1.7 mi above sea level) means the atmosphere is thin, and the extreme cold keeps the amount of water vapor in the air low. This is particularly important for observing at millimeter wavelengths, where incoming signals can be absorbed by water vapor, and where water vapor emits radiation that can be confused with astronomical signals. Because the sun does not rise and set daily, the atmosphere at the...
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