September, 2011 ....J.
Dana Hrubes...updated September 30, 2011, 2013 GMT
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September is the month at the geographic South Pole when
the sun finally rises after six months. It did rise around September
21st, but we have had about two weeks of heavy storms up to the end of
the month, so we have only seen the sun during part of one day so far.
I didn't take many photographs this month because of the lousy weather.
The South Pole Telescope (SPT) and the first hint of the upcoming sunrise during civil twilight
The Dark Sector Laboratory (DSL) a few days before sunrise, with the main station at the end of the flagline almost a mile away
As twilight progressed, one could see snow covered objects and drifts
that formed during the long dark winter and the reminder of how much
snow shoveling is ahead of us.
Marco cross country skiing several miles at 90 below zero
The South Pole Telescope a few days before sunrise
Just a few days before sunrise a series of huge storms blew in with
winds reaching over 50 miles per hour. I still had to walk the mile out
to the telescope every day, but it was a bit challenging. We conducted
telescope CMB observations throughout the storm, but, at times, our
signal to noise was reduced somewhat. Our microwave imaging still made
progress, but at a slightly lower rate.
Just before sunrise a series of huge storms blew in and lasted for almost two weeks. Here the flagline is starting to disappear.
storm beginning flagline disappearing whiteout SPT obscured
12 hour break between storms showed us that the sun did indeed rise.
This was 3 days after sunrise and during our special sunrise dinner.
The South Pole Telescope continued to
operate well this past month and we are getting very close to
completion of our 5 year wide area galaxy cluster survey
Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect. In addition to conducting normal telescope
operations, data quality analysis and computer software upgrade work,
we also addressed typical troubleshooting and
Numerous technical papers have been published
by the SPT team over the past couple of years on the discovery of
clusters, their relation to Lambda-CDM cosmology and the impact they
have on the understanding of dark energy.
Other results include the discovery of other point sources such as
star-forming galaxies and refinements of the cosmic microwave
background (CMB) power spectrum at small angular scales. (click on
technical paper link below)
Next month - October: Anticipating the first Aircraft Since February 14th!
South Pole Telescope Technical Papers
A Real-Time Photo of South Pole Station as Seen
from the ARO
Building (live when satellite is up)
South Pole Web Site by Bill Spindler
(Bill Spindler's List)
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