Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)


A picture of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and full moon. This photo shows the SPT observing during the austral winter, with the featureless horizon of the high Antarctic Plateau in the background.

Radiation from the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) provides a snapshot of the universe at a time only 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The well-understood dynamics of the CMB enable precise calculation of its observable features, and directly connect new measurements to fundamental physics. These properties are what makes the CMB one of the most powerful pieces of evidence that we live in a geometrically flat universe, dominated by non-baryonic cold dark matter and dark energy, with large-scale structure having grown through gravitational instability seeded by quantum fluctuations from an earlier inflationary epoch. The next frontier of CMB research is to extract the wealth of cosmological information available from its polarization.





Current Experiments


American Museum of Natural History video describing the South Pole Telescope, and its current camera SPTpol, which is measuring the polarization of the CMB