The South Pole Telescope: A new probe of cluster cosmology

William Holzapfel
(UC Berkeley)


The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10-meter diameter telescope, with a 960 element millimeter-wavelength bolometric receiver, which is nearing the end of its second season of observation the South Pole. The SPT has been optimized for observations of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect in galaxy clusters, which is the inverse Compton scattering of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by hot intra-cluster gas. With this instrument, we are surveying the southern sky to create a mass limited catalog of galaxy clusters out to the epoch of their formation which can be used to place new constraints on cosmological parameters such as the dark matter density and dark energy equation of state. This program of observations will also produce significant detections of the kinetic SZ effect and weak gravitational lensing of the CMB, a large multi-band millimeter-wavelength point source catalog, and images of the SZ effect in known galaxy clusters with unprecedented sensitivity.  In this talk, I will discuss the science goals of the experiment, the design, construction, and deployment of the SPT, progress of the observations, and conclude by showing some preliminary results.