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South Pole Telescope


July 22, 2013: Detection of B-mode Polarization by SPTpol.

 

 

October 10, 2008: Galaxy clusters discovered with the South Pole Telescope! Images of the first four galaxy clusters detected in the South Pole Telescope survey. Images are postage-stamp cutouts of larger maps in each of the three SPT observing bands (centered at 95, 150, and 225 GHz). Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect intensity decrements in the direction of the cluster are clear in the unfiltered 150 GHz image and in the filtered 95 and 150 GHz images. No decrement (or increment) is seen in the 225 GHz image, as is expected for the SZ effect.



 

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July, 2013: B-mode polarization detected with SPTpol.

Scientists from the South Pole Telescope (SPT) project have detected subtle distortions referred to as 'B-modes' in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB, preprint here). These distortions---detected for the first time in data from SPTpol, the polarization-sensitive receiver installed on the SPT in January, 2012---are thought to have only two sources: gravitational lensing of the more conventional 'E-mode' CMB polarization, and a background of gravitational waves from the epoch of cosmic inflation. The signals detected by SPTpol are due to gravitational lensing, and a sufficiently sensitive measurement of these signals will help us learn about neutrinos through their impact on the growth of structure in the universe. Successfully detecting this tiny B-mode signal also represents a major milestone along the way to using the CMB to learn about the earliest moments of the universe with the inflationary B modes.

 
 
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