The astronomical observatory is located in the Alto Chorrillos region, near the town of San Antonio de los Cobres in Salta, and will attempt to delve deeper into what happened in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang.
Photo: Conicet. Opening of the telescope Qubic, which will trace the origin of the universe
A 5,000 meters altitude above sea level in Alto Chorrillos, a town in the province of bouncewas inaugurated CUBICan observatory and facilities in Puna of Salta, a precision instrument for measuring signs of the cosmos It tries to provide information about the beginning of the universe and the moments immediately after.
The initiative was carried out by an international collaboration involving universities, scientific institutions and research centers from Argentina, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. At the local level, the participating institutions are: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Conicet), the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA); Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mincyti) and Salta province. Ana Franchi, president of Conicet; Science Minister Daniel Filmus; CNEA president Adriana Serquis, Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology (QUBIC) Co-Spokesperson and Conicet researcher Alberto Etchegoyen, and Salta Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Matías Cánepa.
Ana Franchi, head of Conicet, stressed the importance of collaborative work between different institutions to achieve the QUBIC Observatory: “It is the effort of several countries carried out in Argentina, thanks to the efforts of different organizations and the quality of resources. The people we have in our country. Nothing happens fast in science and technology, and for example this In order to have an observatory, we must consider that the continuity of public policies is a must, especially in cyt.”
It is a great pride as a country to be able to rely on this technology. As a researcher and president of Conicet today, it is also a source of pride, and I repeat, that we can come together, collaborate and work together as workers and laborers of all these science and technology institutions to achieve this. It is a national pride”.
Filmus said at the opening, “To put it in words, they use emotion and pride. We, who have the feeling and responsibility of having given birth to a project that has been worked on for 15 years, can only be thanked to individuals and institutions.” He spoke of the CNEA’s “pride for Argentina”, the work and collaborating scientists of Conicet, Salta state and Cánepa “to save the project in these years”. The minister thanked the participating countries, and especially “our friends from Italy and France who take this forward and believe in us, for the ideal place and quality of people to do this,” and added, “It is also a lesson in state politics and that times are not like in election calendars. Scientific projects “It requires medium and long-term views. We must rely on science and technology to improve the living conditions of humanity.”
The QUBIC (QU Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) works and it was crucial to have a physical location in town to put everything in place in terms of equipment, roads, connections and communications. That’s why the first instrumentation site is located in the Alto Chorrillos – Salta region at an altitude of 4,980 meters above sea level, where the Argentinean-Brazilian radio telescope LLAMA (Large Latin American Millimer Array) is also located.
“Northwest Argentina will become a national and regional scientific center of attraction,” said astronomer Beatriz García. He added, “The telescope is a newly designed instrument that aims to study what’s called the ‘physics of the early universe,’ i.e. what happened in the early moments of the universe, within fractions of a second after the Big Bang. The Universe. At the time, scientists called what was called the cosmic microwave background. something called inflation occurred, which they assumed had left its traces in the radiation.
In this context, Alberto Etchegoyen said, “Science is based on observation and experimentation, and that is what we want to prove here and with this installation: the theory of swelling. If we find these flashes in the radiation of the universe, it will be possible to confirm the creation of the universe with the Big Bang. Extremely optimistic results can be given in a three-year forecast, it depends on how good nature and the universe are when we get to work. We are pleased with what we have achieved and are pleased to be inaugurating today with the heads of relevant organizations and international officials.”
Serquis said, “CNEA’s presence in this region is very important now that it is relevant to research projects. As with any major project, the synergy of both national and international institutions is necessary for these projects to continue. Especially these sensors, Qubic has some special sensors developed with micro and nanotechnology from Italy, but now these sensors are made in the CAC of this institute, CNEA-Conicet, with an agreement with Germany. Why does this synergy between science and technology institutions enable the development of knowledge in other fields as well”.
In response, Cánepa stated: “The opening of QUBIC is very important for Salta because it represents a fundamental step towards advancing the astronomical pole in Salta Puna, which has national and international influence. Listening to different people speaking in different languages shows that it is a project that has a great impact on the scientific environment, the dissemination of science and even science tourism, it is of great importance for the region.” “The LLAMA radio telescope has recently advanced significantly with its work, which interests many people in carrying out their work within the framework of “Salta ventana al universo”.
Prior to the opening of QUBIC, Franchi, together with all the officials present, visited the building of the currently activated LLAMA project, where staff from Conicet Salta Jujuy is responsible.
During the opening, Roberto Rivarola, Conicet’s Vice President of Technology; Council researcher and representative of the QUBIC Project in Argentina Beatriz García, Raúl Becchio, director of the Salta Jujuy Center for Science and Technology (CCT); Alejandro Dabrowski, Conicet Director of Corporate Affairs, Carlos Greco, rector of the National University of San Martin, Co-Spokesperson of QUBIC, University of La Sapienza (Rome, Italy), Silvia Masi; QUBIC Co-Spokesperson, National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Particle Physics (France), Jean-Cristophe Hamilton; Vincent Poireau, Deputy Scientific Director of Astroparticles and Cosmology at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Particle Physics, Fernando Ferroni, former president of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, and various state and municipal officials Conicet, members of the CNEA scientific community and the media.
QUBIC’s tour of Argentina
The QUBIC Project is the result of collaboration between 130 researchers and engineers from France, Italy, Argentina, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The vehicle was developed at APC (Paris) in France between 2008 and 2018 and tested in the same lab between 2019 and 2020.
It arrived in Argentina in July 2021, where it was transferred to the Integration Laboratory (specially built for this purpose) in the CNEA Northwest Region in Salta, where it was assembled, commissioned and tested for a year. In addition, the following tasks were carried out in Argentina: design and construction of the framework of the cryogenic laboratory at the Constituyentes Atomic Center, the motion system of the frame; membrane release system for absorbers of incoming radiation of cryogenic quantum sensors and dome.
On the other hand, the infrastructure housing the telescope at Alto Chorrillos was built with the assembly of the generators and fuel tank and the design and construction of the electrical system. These tasks had to be completed with others, such as building access roads and setting up shelter, as well as bringing power and communications to the site. The instrument is now operational and ready to collect data for calibration.
QUBIC project: looking for B mode
“As astrophysicists, we know what happens 400,000 years after the beginning of the universe, when matter is separated from energy and photons begin to move freely.” Beatriz García, a CONICET researcher and deputy director of ITeDA, explains. “The traces of what happened before are in the CMB and what we want to detect: the polarization of that radiation. By studying the polarization of the radiation, we can know what happened before the light began to circulate in the universe (i.e., before said separation)”.
What scientists want to capture is the so-called “Mode B” of the CMB’s polarization. Mode B emerges in this expansion at an unusual rate that may have occurred in the early moments during inflation and may be associated with primitive gravitational waves. This mode was theoretically proposed by the Argentine physicist Matías Zaldarriaga. Said polarization has not yet been discovered empirically because the tools required must be very precise and complex. For this, QUBIC has designed and manufactured an instrument at the CMB that will detect tiny quantities polarized with B Modes: signs of the creation of the universe.
Developed as part of the QUBIC Project to capture this radiation, the high-tech telescope was built piecemeal at laboratories and institutes in France, Italy, Ireland, England and Argentina. All parts are now combined in Salta. “You don’t go to the supermarket and say, ‘Give me two detectors from the beginning of the universe.’ You have to make very advanced technological advances. The instrument designed at QUBIC is the heart of the project. It makes a unique blend of bolometry and interferometry,” explains Etchegoyen.
Etymologically, bolometer comes from the Greek and means light beam measurement. Bolometers are microsensors that operate at very low temperatures and change the electrical resistance of the material by heating while detecting the CMB, thus enabling it to be detected as an electronic signal. Another advantage of the instrument is that it performs interferometry, that is, it measures the wavelength of the incoming and analyzes the properties of the radiation. This makes a bolometric interferometry. “This combination helps us understand if it’s related to primordial radiation. Then, by combining interferometry with bolometry, we have the great advantage of being more clear about what we’re measuring, if these are the B modes of the primordial CMB,” explains Etchegoyen.
The QUBIC project telescope is housed in a cylindrical case called a “cryostat”, 1.8 m high and 1.6 m in diameter, which serves to maintain very low temperatures.. This case protects it and keeps the telescope at -269°C and the sensors even lower. This temperature will make it possible to capture the small temperature fluctuations produced by the CMB in the sensors. The cryostat and its housing will be placed in a dome that will be opened for sky observation.
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