cosmic microwave background

For the first time, a team of scientists has used the orientation of light left over from the early universe to detect gravitational lensing from galaxy clusters – the bending of light around these massive objects. Using gravitational lensing data taken by the South Pole Telescope and the Dark Energy Camera, Fermilab scientist Brad Benson and colleagues have demonstrated a new way to “weigh” galaxy clusters and ultimately shed light on dark matter, dark energy and other mysteries of the cosmos.

Ground-based experiments designed to study the cosmic microwave background have gotten larger and more sophisticated over time. Now, nearly 200 scientists who have up until this point worked on different competing CMB experiments have joined forces to propose a fourth-generation experiment, the largest ground-based one yet, called CMB-S4.

From Nature Reviews Physics, Jan. 28, 2019: The Dark Energy Survey completed its six-year-mission to map more than 300 million distant galaxies; however, an equally arduous task — analyzing the acquired 50 terabytes of data with a view to understanding the expansion of the universe — is just beginning.

From APS’s Physics, Jan. 29, 2019: On Jan. 9, a handful of researchers with the Dark Energy Survey — one of the most ambitious attempts to probe the dynamics of the universe’s expansion — headed to the control room of Chile’s Blanco Telescope. For one last time, they opened the white telescope’s dome. From their perch overlooking the red Andean Mountains, they set up for a night of observing the southern sky.

A new camera for the South Pole Telescope, called SPT-3G, will aid scientists in creating the deepest, most sensitive map yet of the cosmic microwave background, allowing them to peer more closely into the era of the universe just after the Big Bang.

How do scientists know what percentages of the universe are made up of dark matter and dark energy? Cosmologist Risa Wechsler of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology explains. Watch the 3-minute video.

From University of Chicago, Jan. 26, 2016: Argonne, Fermilab and the University of Chicago are among the dozen institutions that are working on upgrading the South Pole Telescope. Scientists are getting ready to install a new camera on the telescope later this year to plumb the earliest history of the cosmos.