Primordial Signals from the Big Bang? New Planck Space Observatory Findings Casts Doubt on the March Discovery: A map of interstellar dust unveiled today from the obtained by the European Space Agency’s Planck space observatory has substantially reduced the chances that a South Pole telescope (above) glimpsed gravitational waves from the Big Bang, as was claimed in March. The latest map, Nature reports, could, however, “guide astronomers to the regions where they might have the best chance of detecting such a primordial signal.”
No one has ever directly observed gravitational waves, phenomena predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, and such a discovery would have profound implications for the study of the Universe. Last March, however, the team behind the BICEP2 project made a ground-breaking announcement: the Antarctic observatory had detected a signal referable to gravitational waves. The study claimed to have excluded possible contaminants (other sources that could have generated the same signal) and that the observation was therefore to be considered genuine.
But not everyone agreed and many scientists expressed doubts. To test the observation, the team in charge of analysing the Planck satellite data (in which the International School for Advanced Studies SISSA of Trieste, INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Trieste and the University of Trieste participate at one of the two Data Processing Centres) carried out a series of checks in the same portion of sky observed by BICEP, both at the same and at a higher frequency ranges.
Planck’s full-sky map grades regions of lower (blue) and higher (red) interstellar dust — and shows that the patch observed by the BICEP2 telescope (rectangle) was not among the least dusty. The left panel shows the northern Galactic hemisphere and the right panel shows the southern one.
– por The Daily Galaxy
– Tags: big bang, cosmología, polvo cósmico, sonda Planck –
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