CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2007
 
 24 May 2007

24 May 2007

Speaker: Antony Stark (CfA)

Title: Cosmology and Galactic Astronomy from the South Pole

Abstract:The Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO) operated from 1995-2005, observing submillimeter-wave spectral lines with arcminute resolution from dense molecular gas in the Milky Way. As the first telescope to operate continuously through the winter on the Antarctic Plateau, it demonstrated feasibility and the superb conditions of the site. AST/RO's legacy includes observations of SST-field star-forming cores and a comprehensive map of the galactic center region. The dense gas surrounding the galactic center is unstable, leading to quasi-periodic starbursts and activation of the central Black Hole. The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10-meter diameter submillimeter-wave telescope, that became operational at the South Pole on February 16, 2007. The SPT is designed to feed thousands of detectors with low background noise. The initial SPT project is a 4000 square degree swath of the southern sky at frequencies of 90, 150, and 220 GHz. This will lead to the discovery of many thousands of clusters of galaxies, detected through their Sunyaev-Zel'dovic effect background decrements. The detection efficiency is essentially independent of redshift: about 30% of these clusters will be at redshifts z > 1. The evolution and size of clusters is a sensitive constraint on Dark Energy.

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