BICEP2 researchers publish nuanced account of stunning patterns in the microwave sky

June 19, 2014, American Physical Society
BICEP2 researchers publish nuanced account of stunning patterns in the microwave sky
BICEP2 T, Q, U maps. The left column shows the basic signal maps with 0.25° pixelization as output by the reduction pipeline. The right column shows difference (jackknife) maps made with the first and second halves of the data set. No additional filtering other than that imposed by the instrument beam (FWHM 0.5°) has been done. Note that the structure seen in the Q and U signal maps is as expected for an E-mode dominated sky. Credit: American Physical Society

Following a thorough peer-review process, the researchers who previously announced the detection of B-mode polarization in a patch of the microwave sky have published their findings today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The researchers provide some evidence that the signals they have found may be the result of from the earliest moments of the universe's existence and thus might constitute the first observation of phenomena from the rapid expansion of the universe known as the inflationary period.

The results from the BICEP2 experiment, the second generation of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization experiment, are controversial in the astrophysics community, with various experts proposing that the signal may be an artifact resulting from distortions created by Galactic dust.

The BICEP2 collaboration addresses these claims directly, changing, removing and adding some analyses, but they acknowledge that they cannot rule out the possibility that dust may be partly or entirely responsible for the gravitational-wave-like signals. They anticipate that forthcoming data will resolve this question about their potentially groundbreaking research.

Explore further: Are the BICEP2 results invalid? Probably not

More information: Paper: Detection of -Mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2, … ysRevLett.112.241101

Related Stories

Are the BICEP2 results invalid? Probably not

May 20, 2014

Recently rumors have been flying that the BICEP2 results regarding the cosmic inflationary period may be invalid. It all started with a post by Dan Falkowski on his blog Resonaances, where he claimed that the BICEP2 had misinterpreted ...

Experts cast doubt on Big Bang bolstering discovery

June 14, 2014

Astrophysicists are casting doubt on what just recently was deemed a breakthrough in confirming how the universe was born: the observation of gravitational waves that apparently rippled through space right after the Big Bang.

First direct evidence of cosmic inflation (Update)

March 17, 2014

( —Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the Big Bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, ...

Has dust clouded the discovery of gravitational waves?

June 4, 2014

It's almost three months since a team of scientists announced it had detected polarised light from the afterglow of the Big Bang. But questions are still being asked about whether cosmic dust may have clouded their discovery.

Setting a trap for gravity waves

March 19, 2014

In 1996 Uros Seljak was a postdoc at Harvard, contemplating ways to extract information from the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The distribution of anisotropies, slight temperature differences, in the CMB had much to ...

Recommended for you

Trembling aspen leaves could save future Mars rovers

March 18, 2019

Researchers at the University of Warwick have been inspired by the unique movement of trembling aspen leaves, to devise an energy harvesting mechanism that could power weather sensors in hostile environments and could even ...

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields

March 15, 2019

A new way of measuring atomic-scale magnetic fields with great precision, not only up and down but sideways as well, has been developed by researchers at MIT. The new tool could be useful in applications as diverse as mapping ...

Researchers report new light-activated micro pump

March 11, 2019

Even the smallest mechanical pumps have limitations, from the complex microfabrication techniques required to make them to the fact that there are limits on how small they can be. Researchers have announced a potential solution—a ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2014
There's another group with an antenna down Antarctica way that is supposed to announce their results rather soon, so stay tuned!
1 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2014
We know there's gravitational waves through orbiting pulsar data(not to mention gravitational lensing pictures); we know inflation happened through Cobe/Wmap . . . do actually think there's no gravitational waves from the c.b.r?
5 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2014
We've seen a loose cable making neutrinos exceed the speed of light, emergence making gravity nonexistent and now a bad screen shot at a conference producing primordial gravitational waves. Anybody in need of more examples to understand that science should not be a theater?
Jun 20, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Jul 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.