Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


South Pole Centennial Includes UChicago Telescopes

Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole on Dec. 14, 1911. The following year, Arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary wondered about the scientific merits of making a continuous year of astronomical observations from the South Pole. So Peary sent a letter to Edwin Frost, director of the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory, asking about the idea.

Frost rejected the idea, but his UChicago successors thought differently. In 1986 they established the first in a series of telescopes at the South Pole to take advantage of its high elevation (9,301 feet), its clear, dry atmosphere, and its uninterrupted view of the same patch of sky. UChicago scientists have since become a scientific fixture of the South Pole, which now enters its second century of human activity.

UChicago deployed its first telescopes as part of the Cosmic Background Radiation Anisotropy Experiment (COBRA). The largest COBRA telescope, called Python, recorded measurements of the cosmic microwave background — the big bang’s afterglow — that were 10 to 100 times better than any other Earthbound site conducting such studies.

Then came Chicago’s South Pole Infrared Explorer (SPIREX), the only telescope in the world that had a continuous view of the crash of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July 1995.

The Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI), which began operating in 2000, soon recorded slight temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. DASI’s precise measurements enabled cosmologists to verify the theory that ordinary matter, of which humans, stars and galaxies are made, accounts for less than 5 percent of the universe’s total mass and energy.

DASI also made the first detection of the much fainter polarization in the cosmic microwave background, which made the cover of the Dec. 19, 2002 issue of Nature.

Succeeding DASI was the South Pole Telescope, which collected its first data in February 2007. SPT studies the mysterious phenomenon of dark energy, which makes the expansion of the universe accelerate.

The South Pole Telescope will be featured as a Science Bulletin next summer in a high-definition, seven-minute documentary at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Steve Koppes | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Stellar desk in wave-like motion
08.10.2015 | Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

nachricht Mysterious ripples found racing through planet-forming disk
08.10.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Unexpected information about Earth's climate history from Yellow River sediment

09.10.2015 | Earth Sciences

Single atom alloy platinum-copper catalysts cut costs, boost green technology

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

Indefatigable Hearing

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>