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Cao Jun | Institute of High Energy Physics | P.R. China

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Dome A

Today I took a workshop “Frontier cosmology at Dome A, Antarctica” held at IHEP. Dome A is the highest point in Antarctica. Although often “spammed” by news about Antarctica, I found I knew little about it. Anyway it is a bit far from us.

“Antarctic is larger than China”, the first speaker, Nobel Prize laureate George Smoot said. I know that the largest neutrino telescope icecube locates at the South Pole. Several of our Daya Bay collaborators come from icecube. “Icecube is the most impor, er, the most expensive experiment in Antarctica”, said by Smoot. “The largest advantage doing experiments in Antarctica is probably the cost. Sending 1 kg equipment to space cost 15,000$ by rocket, 60,000$ by shuttle, but only several dollars to Antarctica.” In some wave bands, Dome A is even better than in space.

Actually it is not easy to do experiments at Dome A. Starting from Zhong Shan station, it takes 20 days, 1,250 km trek under -50 degree C to reach Dome A, above 4,000 m altitude. It is probably as difficult as climbing the Everest. Nevertheless, several small programs, including an international collaborative PLATO observatory, have been started in 2008. The data will provide the parameters needed to establish a future observatory. The next programs, such as the THz telescope, may greatly contribute to the studies of the dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of the universe, etc.

topo_antactica

冰穹A

今天在高能所听了一个关于南极冰穹A的宇宙学前沿研讨会。冰穹A是南极的最高点。虽然时常听到关于南极的消息,但是我发现对南极实际上一无所知,毕竟离我们有点远。

南极大陆“比中国还大”,第一个做报告的诺贝尔奖获得者George Smoot说。我们知道最大的中微子望远镜Icecube在南极点附近。我们大亚湾合作组有几位合作者就来自Icecube实验。“Icecube是南极最重要,呃,最昂贵的实验”,Smoot说。“到南极进行天文观测最大的好处也许是成本。用火箭运送1kg的装备到太空需要1万5千美元,用航天飞机需要6万,运到南极只需要10美元,而在某些波段,冰穹A的观测条件甚至比天上还好。”

实际上,到冰穹A做实验并不容易。从中山站出发,需要在零下50度经过20天1250公里的跋涉,才能到达4000米高的冰穹A,其难度大概不亚于攀登珠穆朗玛峰。不过在2008年,几个小的研究项目,包括国际合作的PLATO自动观测站,已经在Dome A建立起来,为下一步的天文台址提供测量参数。计划中Schmidt望远镜阵、大视场成像望远镜和太赫兹波望远镜,可能对暗物质、暗能量、宇宙起源等研究做出重要贡献。

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