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Science Bulletins Tweets From The South Pole

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Tomorrow, a producer with Science Bulletins, the Museum’s online and exhibition program, begins a seven-day journey to the South Pole to document the work of a research team working with the largest-ever telescope deployed in Antarctica.

Located in the interior of Antarctica—a vast frozen continent twice the size of Australia—the South Pole is home to little except the intrepid scientists and staff who populate research stations year-round. Science Bulletins first traveled to the South Pole 10 years ago to visit the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, where an instrument called Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI) measured the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The CMB, a vast curtain of energy left over from the Big Bang, is the oldest, most distant feature of the observable universe. The resulting Science Bulletins feature, Cosmic Microwave Background: The New Cosmology, first premiered in March 2003.

This month, Science Bulletins returns to the South Pole to revisit the team of scientists who have been mapping the patterns of the Cosmic Microwave Background for over a decade. Their new instrument, simply called South Pole Telescope, is the largest telescope ever deployed at the pole, with a primary mirror 10 meters in diameter. (To find out about a special type of reflecting telescope—called a liquid mirror telescope—that astronomers are one day proposing to build at the Moon’s South Pole, read this story and visit the new exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, which opens November 19).

The South Pole Telescope will be used to study the origins and evolution of the universe, and producer Tania Van Bergen will be sending updates and images from the field that will be tweeted by @AMNH. The journey begins tomorrow, November 8.

For Science Bulletins updates from Antarctica, follow the Museum on Twitter @AMNH and look for the hashtag #SouthPole.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.