Lead Lab Selected for Next-Generation Cosmic Microwave Background Experiment

by | Sep 10, 2020 | Cosmology, Daily Space | 0 comments

Lead Lab Selected for Next-Generation Cosmic Microwave Background Experiment
LEFT IMAGE: This image, from “Eternal Sky,” a video series about the Simons Observatory, shows the Atacama Desert site where some of the telescopes for the CMB-S4 experiment will be built. CREDIT: Copyright Debra Kellner/Simons Foundation; RIGHT IMAGE: The South Pole Telescope scans the sky as the southern lights, or aurora australis, form green patterns in this 2018 video clip. The CMB-S4 project will feature new telescopes around this site of current experiments at the South Pole, and also in Chile’s high desert. CREDIT: Robert Schwarz/University of Minnesota

Yesterday the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Berkeley Lab has been selected to lead the construction of a massive network of large and small telescopes that will be placed in Antarctica and in the Chilean high desert for the purpose of observing the Cosmic Microwave Background from the surface of the Earth using more new detectors than are currently in use by the world’s professional astronomy community. 

This project is best described as audacious, and because of its scope and potential to both generate amazing science and suck all funding out of the rest of astronomy, we’re going to be following this project from start to finish, which is something we rarely do here at the Daily Space. Here are the fast figures: they will use 21 telescopes at two sites with 500,000 ultrasensitive detectors for at least seven years. The initial announcement didn’t include cost information, and as this project is funded by both the DOE and National Science Foundation (NSF), some digging is going to be required to figure this out. Stay tuned, this story will be getting more attention as details become available.

More Information

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory press release 


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