Some photos from my recent Antarctic expedition to launch and support ANITA-4:
The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a NASA long-duration balloon mission for the Askaryan radio detection of ultra-high-energy (UHE) neutrinos. I am a Ph.D. student member of this collaboration and deployed our recent ANITA-4 mission in McMurdo, Antarctica.
Neutrinos are some of the most elusive particles in Nature, but they are the only ones that can travel large cosmic distances, at the highest energies. We want to study high-energy Astronomy and Astrophysics using neutrinos as messengers (instead of photons)!
- Has lots of ice (dielectric target medium) for neutrinos to interact in and produce optical Cherenkov (IceCube) and radio Cherenkov (ANITA, ARA, ARIANNA) light.
- It is radio-quiet compared to rest of the world so less noisy for radio experiments.
- Earth’s magnetic field points straight down giving cosmic-ray signals a distinctive polarization.
- Summer polar vortex allows balloon-borne ANITA to fly in circles over the continent observing ~ 1 million cubic km of Antarctic ice for UHE neutrinos.