Dome from Home: The Geographic South Pole and its Telescopes

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The WSU Alumni Association and Planetarium are pleased to present our first Dome from Home lecture.

Join Dr. Jerry Dunifer, Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, for an interactive journey (Zoom video conference) to the geographic South Pole. See breathtaking photographs from his trip to Antarctica and learn about fascinating telescopes.

Jerry Dunifer was faculty in the WSU Department of Physics & Astronomy for 35 years before retirement. Since retirement, one of Jerry's hobbies has been visiting a number of the significant and historic astronomy observatories around the world. He has visited dozens of different sites, traveling as far as the geographic South Pole and the geographic North Pole and many places in between.

In January 2016, Dunifer embarked on an expedition to the Geographic South Pole. The National Science Foundation (NSF) operates a research base at this location, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. In this talk, Dunifer describes the main NSF base and the two major types of astronomical observatories at this site: Ice Cube and a set of telescopes, including the South Pole Telescope, which monitors the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR). Ice Cube is a neutrino observatory encompassing one cubic kilometer of ice below the surface. It detects elusive neutrinos arriving from throughout the Cosmos. These high-energy neutrinos provide information to probe the most violent astrophysical sources, such as exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, and events involving black holes and neutron stars.

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