Greenland Telescope

PI Institute/Department Email
Norton, Timothy John
Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics
Award#(s)
SAOTelescope
IPY Project?
No
Funding Agency
US\Federal\SAO
Program Manager Funding Agency Email
Mercer, Dr. Jennifer
NSF, Office of Polar Programs
Discipline(s)
Space Physics\Astrophysics
Science Summary

The project plans to deploy a 12 m radio antenna to Thule Air Base (TAB) for VLBI operation at 230 GHz prior to installing the telescope at Summit Station for higher frequency Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) and submillimeter operation. Deployment at TAB will enable the team to test functionality, measure characteristics, make critical adjustments and observe astronomical sources. This is a crucial first step towards Summit deployment where a key objective is to provide direct confirmation of a Super Massive Black Hole (SMBH) by observing its shadow image in the active galaxy M87. Radiometer: The science objectives are to survey TAB's atmospheric opacity at 225 GHz, utilizing the data in Greenland Telescope sensitivity prediction models. The Radiometer is a passive narrow-band receiver monitoring the sky at a frequency of 225 GHz. It is an automated tipper that repeatedly scans the atmosphere from zenith toward the horizon in a chosen direction.

Logistics Summary

The project concerns a 12m radio antenna deployed to Thule Air Base (TAB) for VLBI operation at 230 GHz prior to installing the telescope at Summit Station for higher frequency Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) and submillimeter operation. Deployment at TAB will enable the team to test functionality, measure characteristics, make critical adjustments and observe astronomical sources. This is a crucial first step towards Summit deployment, where a key objective is to provide direct confirmation of a Super Massive Black Hole (SMBH) by observing its shadow image in the active galaxy M87. Researchers began assembly at TAB in 2016 with completion occurring during the winter of 2017. The first measurements were successfully completed in March/April of 2018. The group maintains a constant presence in Thule performing adjustments and maintenance on the telescope during the summer months, with observations resuming in the winter. In 2018, in coordination with ongoing observations, a film crew from Taiwan visited the base to document the joint effort between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA). In July of 2018, a team of five researchers will visit Summit Station with the CPS project manager and CPS facility manager as a reconnaissance to assist in future planning with the goal of bringing the telescope to Summit. The group will tour current facilities, learn of operations, and visit possible sites for the future telescope. In 2019, in addition to annual operation and maintenance activities in Thule, a Distinguished Visitor group will utilize Air National Guard flights between Thule and Kangerlussuaq and then via a daytrip to Summit Station and Ilullissat. The group of three will be on a reconnaissance mission for the potential of a large Smithsonian funded DV trip in 2020. In 2020, operation and maintenance activities will continue in Thule another visit to Summit is planned for potentially five people.

CPS will provide Air National Guard airlift for passengers and cargo, CPS labor for planning and project management, CPS labor/travel for project management and facility planning support, use of heated staging space at TAB, NSF truck use and lodging in Thule and Kangerlussuaq, communications and cold weather gear, and facilitation/payment of Air Mobility Command cargo shipments. NSF will recoup costs associated with this support directly from SAO and/or ASIAA. CPS project manager labor will also include arrangements for Thule base clearances, AMC ticketing, Vectrus contracting, and North Star lodging and KISS reservations; however, all services will be paid for directly by the research team. All other logistics will be arranged and paid for by the PI/project.

Season Field Site Date In Date Out #People
2018
Greenland - Summit
5
2019
Greenland - Summit
3
2020
Greenland - Summit
5