Arrival at South Pole research station

Arrival at South Pole research station

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Credit: NSF/STEFFEN RICHTER/HARVARD UNIVERSITY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Arrival at South Pole research station. Cryogenics technicians arriving at the South Pole after a three-hour flight from McMurdo Station on the coast of Antarctica. Telescopes here, operated by the USA's National Science Foundation, are used to examine the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The liquid helium, a key component for successful observations, is used to cool the detectors to 0.25 degrees above absolute zero. In March 2014, it was announced that the BICEP2 telescope had detected a distinctive pattern in the CMB that supports the inflation theory of the Big Bang. These results were obtained between January 2010 and December 2012.

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