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Proceedings Paper

High-precision scanning water vapor radiometers for cosmic microwave background site characterization and comparison
Author(s): D. Barkats; R. Bowens-Rubin; W. H. Clay; T. Culp; R. Hills; J. M. Kovac; N. A. Larsen; S. Paine; C. D. Sheehy; A. G. Vieregg
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Paper Abstract

The compelling science case for the observation of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) is driving the CMB community to expand the observed sky fraction, either by extending survey sizes or by deploying receivers to potential new northern sites. For ground-based CMB instruments, poorly-mixed atmospheric water vapor constitutes the primary source of short-term sky noise. This results in short-timescale brightness fluctuations, which must be rejected by some form of modulation. To maximize the sensitivity of ground-based CMB observations, it is useful to understand the effects of atmospheric water vapor over timescales and angular scales relevant for CMB polarization measurements. To this end, we have undertaken a campaign to perform a coordinated characterization of current and potential future observing sites using scanning 183 GHz water vapor radiometers (WVRs). So far, we have deployed two identical WVR units; one at South Pole, Antarctica, and the other at Summit Station, Greenland. The former site has a long heritage of ground based CMB observations and is the current location of the Bicep/Keck Array telescopes and the South Pole Telescope. The latter site, though less well characterized, is under consideration as a northern-hemisphere location for future CMB receivers. Data collection from this campaign began in January 2016 at South Pole and July 2016 at Summit Station. Data analysis is ongoing to reduce the data to a single spatial and temporal statistic that can be used for one-to-one site comparison.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 2018
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10708, Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX, 107082E (9 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2312712
Show Author Affiliations
D. Barkats, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
R. Bowens-Rubin, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
W. H. Clay, Kalvi Institute for Cosmological Physics (United States)
The Univ. of Chicago (United StatesUnited States)
T. Culp, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
R. Hills, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
J. M. Kovac, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
N. A. Larsen, Kalvi Institute for Cosmological Physics (United States)
The Univ. of Chicago (United States)
S. Paine, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
C. D. Sheehy, Brookhaven National Lab. (United States)
A. G. Vieregg, Kalvi Institute for Cosmological Physics (United States)
The Univ. of Chicago (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10708:
Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX
Jonas Zmuidzinas; Jian-Rong Gao, Editor(s)

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