SPIDER: CMB Polarimetry from the Edge of Space
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Spider is a balloon-borne instrument designed to map the polarization of the millimeter-wave sky at large angular scales. Spider targets the B-mode signature of primordial gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), with a focus on mapping a large sky area with high fidelity at multiple frequencies. Spider ’s first long-duration balloon (LDB) flight in January 2015 deployed a total of 2400 antenna-coupled transition-edge sensors (TESs) at 90 GHz and 150 GHz. In this work we review the design and in-flight performance of the Spider instrument, with a particular focus on the measured performance of the detectors and instrument in a space-like loading and radiation environment. Spider ’s second flight in December 2018 will incorporate payload upgrades and new receivers to map the sky at 285 GHz, providing valuable information for cleaning polarized dust emission from CMB maps.
KeywordsCosmic microwave background Inflation Bolometers Transition-edge sensors Polarimetry
Spider is supported in the USA by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grants NNX07AL64G, NNX12AE95G, and NNX17AC55G issued through the Science Mission Directorate and by the National Science Foundation through PLR-1043515. Logistical support for the Antarctic deployment and operations was provided by the NSF through the US Antarctic Program. Cosmic ray response studies are supported by NASA under Grant 14-SAT14-0009. Support in Canada is provided by the National Sciences and Engineering Council and the Canadian Space Agency. Support in Norway is provided by the Research Council of Norway. Support in Sweden is provided by the Swedish Research Council through the Oskar Klein Centre (Contract no. 638-2013-8993). KF acknowledges support from DoE Grant DE-SC0007859 at the University of Michigan. The collaboration is grateful to the British Antarctic Survey, particularly Sam Burrell, for invaluable assistance with data and payload recovery after the 2015 flight. We also wish to acknowledge the generous support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which has been crucial to the success of the project.
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