ESA’s Planck satellite tv for pc has discovered no new proof for the puzzling cosmic anomalies that appeared in its temperature map of the Universe. The newest examine doesn’t rule out the potential relevance of the anomalies however they do imply astronomers should work even more durable to know the origin of those puzzling options.
Planck’s newest outcomes come from an evaluation of the polarisation of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation – essentially the most historic gentle in cosmic historical past, launched when the Universe was simply 380 000 years outdated.
The satellite tv for pc’s preliminary evaluation, which was made public in 2013, targeting the temperature of this radiation throughout the sky. This enables astronomers to research the origin and evolution of the cosmos. Whereas it largely confirmed the usual image of how our Universe evolves, Planck’s first map additionally revealed a variety of anomalies which can be tough to clarify inside the usual mannequin of cosmology.
The anomalies are faint options on the sky that seem at giant angular scales. They’re positively not artefacts produced by the behaviour of the satellite tv for pc or the info processing, however they’re faint sufficient that they may very well be statistical flukes – fluctuations that are extraordinarily uncommon however not totally dominated out by the usual mannequin.
Alternatively, the anomalies may be an indication of ‘new physics’, the time period used for as-yet unrecognised pure processes that will lengthen the recognized legal guidelines of physics.
The historical past of the Universe
To additional probe the character of the anomalies, the Planck group regarded on the polarisation of the CMB, which was revealed after a painstaking evaluation of the multi-frequency knowledge designed to remove foreground sources of microwave emission, together with gasoline and mud in our personal Milky Method galaxy.
This sign is the very best measurement so far of the so-called CMB polarisation E-modes, and dates again to the time when the primary atoms shaped within the Universe and the CMB was launched. It’s produced by the way in which gentle scattered off electron particles simply earlier than the electrons have been gathered into hydrogen atoms.
Polarisation gives an virtually unbiased view of the CMB, so if the anomalies have been additionally to indicate up there, this is able to improve astronomers’ confidence that they may very well be attributable to new physics somewhat than being statistical flukes.
Whereas Planck was not initially designed to give attention to polarisation, its observations have been used to create essentially the most correct all-sky maps of the CMB polarisation so far. These have been printed in 2018, enormously enhancing the standard of Planck’s first polarisation maps, launched in 2015.
The CMB polarisation on giant angular scales
When the Planck group checked out this knowledge, they noticed no apparent signal of the anomalies. At finest, the evaluation, printed as we speak in Astronomy and Astrophysics, revealed some weak hints that among the anomalies could also be current.
“Planck’s polarisation measurements are fantastic,” says Jan Tauber, ESA Planck mission scientist. “Yet in spite of the great data we have, we don’t see any significant traces of anomalies.”