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CARA photos displayed at the conference.
The conditions at the South Pole offer unique opportunities for astrophysical research. The extremely cold, dry, and highly stable atmosphere is exceptional for observations from the millimeter through the infrared. The nearly two-mile thick polar ice cap can be used for high-energy astrophysical particle detector telescopes, such as the Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array AMANDA. Over the last several years, the Center for Astronomical Research in Antarctica (CARA) has carried out extensive site testing, successfully operated an observatory through the Austral winter, and conducted cutting edge astronomical observations. It is now time to plan for the future beyond CARA which, as an NSF-Science and Technology Center, ends in 2002.
The workshop began with a plenary session which covered the history of astrophysics at the Pole and summarized the current research being conducted by the CARA and AMANDA collaborations. The speakers reviewed site characterization and the peculiarities of conducting research at the South Pole.
The day proceeded with parallel sessions of five science working groups (see program for details). The chairs of the working groups arranged speakers to address the potential of the Antarctic for conducting unique observations and experiments in their specific area of astrophysics. The chairs then presented a summary of their working group's findings at a plenary session. Talks on large instruments already being planned for the South Pole were also presented during this session. The session concluded with a panel discussion on the scientific goals for the future of Antarctic astrophysics.