Higher sensitivity CMB mapper (EBEX) launched

In summary: The goal of EBEX is to make a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background polarization at an unprecedented sensitivity level, combining a large focal plane of sensitive transition-edge sensor bolometers with a 10-14 day long-duration balloon flight from the Antarctic while modulating the incoming polarization signal with a continuously-rotating half-wave plate."So it'll be looking for patterns in the polarization of the sky, which would indicate the presence of the primordial gravitational waves predicted by inflation. It's sort of like looking for rainbows in the sky, but with a million more colors!In summary, the balloon-borne EBEX microwave background mapper was let fly today. Andrew Jaffe's blog has a
  • #1
marcus
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The balloon-borne EBEX microwave background mapper was let fly today. Andrew Jaffe's blog has a video of the launch, down in the Antarctic. video made by Aboobaker:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-_2ESkCf94&

http://www.andrewjaffe.net/blog/sci...ampaign=Feed:+AJaffeMews+(Leaves+on+the+Line)

Jaffe says:
"EBEX is a next-generation CMB telescope, with hundreds of detectors measuring temperature and polarisation, which we hope will allow us to see the effects of an early epoch of cosmic inflation through the background of gravitational radiation that it produces. But right now, we are just hoping that EBEX catches some good winds in the Antarctic Polar Vortex and comes back around the continent after about two weeks of observing from 120,000 feet."

Here is Aboobaker's blog:
http://ebexinflight.blogspot.com
Aboobaker has described the experiment thus:
" The goal of EBEX is to make a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background polarization at an unprecedented sensitivity level, combining a large focal plane of sensitive transition-edge sensor bolometers with a 10-14 day long-duration balloon flight from the Antarctic while modulating the incoming polarization signal with a continuously-rotating half-wave plate."

Some background:
"... the EBEX experiment, a balloon-borne millimeter-wave telescope to study the faint afterglow of the Big Bang."
http://www.physics.umn.edu/people/asad.html

The name "E and B Experiment" refers to the electric and magnetic parts of the electromagnetic field.
http://groups.physics.umn.edu/cosmology/ebex/
 
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  • #2
Sweet! I love when new stuff goes operational!

Marcus, is this thing looking for signs of gravitational waves via their interaction with the CMB radiation when it was first created?
 
  • #3
Drakkith said:
Sweet! I love when new stuff goes operational!

Marcus, is this thing looking for signs of gravitational waves via their interaction with the CMB radiation when it was first created?

In a word, yes. Among other things, it's looking for a B-mode pattern of polarization, which would indicate the presence of the primordial gravitational waves predicted by inflation.
 
  • #4
marcus said:
The name "E and B Experiment" refers to the electric and magnetic parts of the electromagnetic field.
http://groups.physics.umn.edu/cosmology/ebex/

Just to clarify, it's not referring to the E and B fields from electromagnetism themselves. It's referring to E-modes and B-modes, two distinct patterns into which the pattern of CMB polarization anisotropy on the sky can be decomposed, each having different symmetry properties. The B-modes are "curl-like" and the E-modes "curl-free", hence, these modes are named by analogy with the E and B fields from E&M.
 
  • #5


I am excited to hear about the launch of the EBEX CMB mapper. This is a significant advancement in the study of the cosmic microwave background and has the potential to provide valuable insights into the early universe. The use of hundreds of detectors to measure temperature and polarization is a major improvement in sensitivity and will allow us to potentially observe the effects of cosmic inflation.

The location of the launch in the Antarctic is also crucial, as the polar vortex provides stable and predictable winds that can carry the balloon around the continent for a long-duration flight. This will allow for extended observations of the CMB, which is essential for obtaining accurate and detailed measurements.

I am also impressed by the use of a continuously-rotating half-wave plate to modulate the incoming polarization signal. This technique will help to reduce potential sources of noise and improve the overall quality of the data collected.

Overall, the EBEX experiment is a significant step forward in our understanding of the early universe. I look forward to seeing the results from this mission and the potential insights it may provide into the origin and evolution of our universe.
 

Related to Higher sensitivity CMB mapper (EBEX) launched

What is the purpose of the Higher sensitivity CMB mapper (EBEX)?

The Higher sensitivity CMB mapper (EBEX) is a scientific instrument designed to map the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation in high sensitivity. This radiation is a remnant of the Big Bang and can provide valuable insights into the early universe.

How does EBEX work?

EBEX uses a telescope and a set of highly sensitive detectors to measure the CMB radiation. The telescope collects the radiation from different regions of the sky and the detectors measure the intensity and polarization of the radiation.

What makes EBEX different from previous CMB mappers?

EBEX is designed to have higher sensitivity than previous CMB mappers. This means it can detect fainter signals and provide more accurate measurements of the CMB radiation. It also has a larger coverage area, allowing it to map larger regions of the sky.

What are the potential benefits of EBEX's higher sensitivity?

The higher sensitivity of EBEX can help scientists to better understand the properties of the CMB radiation and how it has evolved over time. This can provide insights into the early universe and potentially support or challenge current theories of cosmology.

What are the challenges of launching and operating EBEX?

Launching and operating scientific instruments in space can be a complex and challenging process. For EBEX, some of the challenges include ensuring the telescope and detectors are functioning properly, managing data collection and transmission, and dealing with potential technical issues that may arise during the mission.

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