June 1, 2000 CfA Colloquium


Title: Imaging the Cosmic Microwave Background

Speaker: Barth Netterfield

Abstract: Since the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) in the 1960's, it has been recognized that measurements of spatial structure in the CMB would significantly increase our understanding of the Universe. Images of acoustic oscillations in the primordial plasma are frozen in at recombination, when the ionized plasma cools to a neutral gas. The angular spectra of these fluctuations can be used to limit the value of cosmological parameters, such as the total energy density of the Universe, and the physical density in Baryons. A generation of experiments around the world has begun the process of characterizing these fluctuations. A significant step forward in this process is BOOMERANG, a Long Duration Balloon Borne telescope, which made its first antarctic flight in Dec 1998 - Jan 1999. This flight has produced images of the CMB with sensitivity and resolution adequate to resolve these fluctuations, and to capitalize on the CMB's cosmological potential. These images, and their associated angular power spectra will be presented, along with cosmological implications.

Reference for students:

also available here. (From the 1998 Long Duration Balloon Flight from Antarctica)