Archive for Litebird

LiteBIRD Newsflash

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on May 23, 2019 by telescoper

Just a quick post to pass on the news that the space mission LiteBIRD has been selected as the next major mission by the Japanese Space Agency JAXA and  Institute for Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS).

LiteBIRD (which stands for `Lite (Light) satellite for the studies of B-mode polarization and Inflation from cosmic background Radiation Detection’) is a planned space observatory that aims to detect the footprint of the primordial gravitational waves on the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in a form of a B-mode polarization pattern. This is the signal that BICEP2 claimed to have detected five years ago to much excitement, but was later shown to be a caused by galactic dust.

It’s great news for a lot of CMB people all round the world that this mission has been selected – include some old friends from Cardiff University. Congratulations to all of them!

I’m not sure when the launch date will be, but the mission will last three years and will be at Earth-Sun Lagrange point known as L2.It will be a very difficult task to extract the B-mode signal from foregrounds and instrumental artifacts so although there’s joy that it has been selected, the real work starts now!

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Nature After Planck…

Posted in Maynooth, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2018 by telescoper

After last week’s short update about the last tranche of papers from the European Space Agency’s Planck Mission it’s time for another short update about a piece in Nature (by David Castelvecchi) that explains how researchers are moving to smaller projects studying different aspects of the cosmic microwave background.

In the spirit of gratuitous self-promotion I should also mention that there’s a little quote from me in that piece. My comment was hardly profound, but at least it gets Maynooth University a name check…

Much of Davide’s piece echoes discussions that were going on at the meeting I attended in India  last October, but things have moved on quite a bit since then at least as far as space experiments are concerned. In particular, the proposed Japanese mission Litebird has been shortlisted for consideration, though we will have to wait until next year (2019) at the earliest to see if it will be selected. An Indian mission, CMB-Bharat, has also emerged as a contender.

While the end of Planck closes one chapter on CMB research, several others will open. These are likely to focus on polarization, gravitational lensing and on cosmic reionization rather than refining the basic cosmological parameters still further.