Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) (Award# ViereggCMB)

PI: Vieregg, Abigail Goodhue (
Phone: (773) 834.2988 
Institute/Department: U of Chicago, Department of Physics 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Research/Higher Ed
Program Manager: Dr. Jennifer Mercer (
Discipline(s): | Space Physics\Astrophysics |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is the oldest detectable light in the universe, and is an invaluable tool for learning about the early universe, the evolution of the universe, and the fundamental physics that govern the universe on its smallest and largest scales. Microwave telescopes at the South Pole and in Chile observe the CMB, which is a bath of microwave radiation that was emitted a mere 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe underwent a phase transition to neutral hydrogen. Measurements of its spacial fluctuations in temperature and polarization have revealed information about the contents and evolution of the universe. Current and future telescopes focus on making precision measurements of the polarization of the CMB, to measure the mass of the neutrino through observations of the large scale structure of the universe, and to probe the nature of a potential inflationary epoch in the first tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang by measuring the imprint of primordial gravitational waves on the polarization of the CMB. The next generation of ground-based CMB telescopes, such as CMB-S4, will attain the best precision with full sky coverage, which is especially important for the goal of measuring properties of neutrinos. Currently both actively-used CMB sites are in the Southern hemisphere, and Summit Station is an attractive Northern site because of its high altitude and dry, stable atmosphere. The team is currently performing site characterization at Summit Station to determine how a CMB telescope would perform at the site compared to South Pole and Chile. In 2016, they deployed a 183 GHz Water Vapor Radiometer with scanning optics that perform 360 degree scans continuously in azimuth and periodic full sky dips in elevation. They are measuring the fluctuations in atmospheric millimeter-wave power on timescales and angular scales relevant for CMB observations to determine the potential noise contribution to CMB maps. An identical unit is deployed at the South Pole for comparison.

Logistics Summary:
The goal of the project is to perform site characterization for future cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments. Researchers will deploy a compact 183 GHz water vapor radiometer at Summit Station, Greenland to collect data in 2016-2017. The radiometer will have the capability to scan in azimuth and tip in elevation, to measure the atmospheric fluctuations on angular scales and timescales that contribute noise to CMB measurements. A field team of three will travel to Summit in late June of 2016, staying for two-three weeks to deploy the radiometer which will continue collecting data. In 2017, one researcher will travel to Summit in late April to return the radiometer to CONUS.

CPS will provide Air National Guard (ANG) coordination for passengers and cargo, Summit Station user days, provision of up to 630W peak UPS power draw with an anticipated continuous draw of 290W for approximately one year, labor support for installation and demobilization, and year-round technician support. NSF will recoup costs associated with this support directly from the PI’s institute. All other items, including KISS user days, will be arranged and paid for by the PI.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2016Greenland - Kangerlussuaq06 / 26 / 2016 07 / 19 / 20163
2016Greenland - Summit06 / 28 / 2016 07 / 17 / 20163
2017Greenland - Kangerlussuaq04 / 25 / 2017 05 / 03 / 20171
2017Greenland - Summit04 / 27 / 2017 05 / 01 / 20171

Generated from:
Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "ViereggCMB", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1