Plans for a 10-m submillimeter-wave telescope at the South Pole

Antony A. Stark, John E. Carlstrom, Frank P. Israel, Karl M. Menten, Jeffrey B. Peterson, Thomas G. Phillips, Giorgio Sironi, Christopher K. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A 10 meter diameter submillimeter-wave telescope has been proposed for installation and scientific use at the NSF Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Current evidence indicates that the South Pole is the best submillimeter-wave telescope site among all existing or proposed ground-based observatories. Proposed scientific programs place stringent requirements on the optical quality of the telescope design. In particular, reduction of the thermal background and offsets requires an off-axis, unblocked aperture, and the large field of view needed for survey observations requires shaped optics. This mix of design elements is well-suited for large-scale (square degree) mapping of line and continuum radiation from submillimeter-wave sources at moderate spatial resolutions (4 to 60 arcsecond beam size) and high sensitivity (milliJansky flux density levels). The telescope will make arcminute angular scale, high frequency Cosmic Microwave Background measurements from the best possible ground-based site, using an aperture which is larger than is currently possible on orbital or airborne platforms. The telescope design is homologous. Gravitational changes in pointing and focal length will be accommodated by active repositioning of the secondary mirror. The secondary support, consisting of a large, enclosed beam, permits mounting of either a standard set of Gregorian optics, or prime focus instrumentation packages for CMBR studies. A tertiary chopper is located at the exit pupil of the instrument. An optical design with a hyperboloidal primary mirror and a concave secondary mirror provides a flat focal surface. The relatively large classical aberrations present in such an optical arrangement can be small compared to diffraction at submillimeter wavelengths. Effective use of this telescope will require development of large (1000 element) arrays of submillimeter detectors which are background-limited when illuminated by antenna temperatures near 50 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-506
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1998
EventAdvanced Technology MMW, Radio, and Terahertz Telescopes - Kona, HI, United States
Duration: Mar 26 1998Mar 26 1998


  • Antarctic
  • Astronomy
  • South Pole
  • Submillimeter
  • Telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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