Monday, September 22, 2014

Update on BICEP2 and Gravitational Waves

Hey Space Placers,

A GREAT night on the mountain at Shenandoah National Park talking about James Webb Space Telescope.

MAVEN made it into orbit around Mars       and

But the biggest space news today is the announcement about the results of the Planck spacecraft's mapping of the dust in the Milky Way Galaxy

These findings are essential to the announcement  earlier this year about the discovery of gravitational waves by the BICEP2 telescope team.

In another blog I  provided a link to a "Nature" article about the discovery.

Now Nature has provided an updated article on how the Planck data affects the BICEP2 results.  

The bottom line is that the Planck data shows that the BICEP2 team made its observations in an area of the sky that contains more interstellar dust than it thought was there. This dust can affect the strength and validity of the gravitational wave signals that the BICEP2 team reported. Their announcement has come under much scrutiny as it should - that is how science works.

The best news is that the Planck team and the BICEP2 team are working together analyzing both sets of data to see if there is still a bona fide gravitational wave signal that has been detected. The results of this analysis is expected in November 2014.

The other good news due to the Planck results is that any team searching for the gravitational wave signal will know where to observe in order to minimize signals from dust.

Be sure to read Joel Achenbach's reporting on this story as he has quotes from scientific notables that lend much to understanding this evolving chapter in our quest to understand the Universe.

More on this story when it develops.

Sky Guy in VA

No comments:

Post a Comment