Hello everyone!  For those who don't know me, my name is Jason Henning and I'm a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder working on the South Pole Telescope Polarization (SPTpol) experiment.  SPTpol is trying to measure very tiny differences in the orientation (or polarization) of the afterglow light from the Big Bang, the moment when the Universe started to expand 13.8 billion years ago.  We can learn an incredible amount of information about the early Universe studying these signals, and I hope to get into some of this exciting stuff in future posts, but for now suffice it to say that doing so is ridiculously challenging.

Since early 2007, the South Pole Telescope (SPT) has been measuring variations in the temperature of this afterglow light (the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB).  As the name implies, the telescope is located within a kilometer of the geographic South Pole (latitude 90 south).  For several years, however, a new camera has been in development to replace the existing camera on SPT, and it's this camera that I've worked on and will help install this winter.

This blog is meant for friends and family and perhaps random internet travelers who may be interested in what a trip to and life at the South Pole is like, as well as a smattering of the awesome science and technology taking me there.  I'm scheduled to leave around December 1st, so between now and when I deploy, look for updates about the instrument, the science, and all the stuff I have to do to fulfill requirements for the US Antarctic Program to let me travel 10,000 miles to the South Pole.