1
vote
1answer
84 views

The gravity waves from the big bang? How can we know?

The latest news says that scientists detected gravitational waves from the Big Bang. My question is how do they know the waves originated in the big bang verses any number of supernovae and or ...
10
votes
1answer
159 views

What's the $\ell$ in the Bicep2 paper mean?

The BICEP experiment's recent announcement included the preprint of their paper, BICEP2 I: Detection of $B$-mode polarization at degree angular scales. BICEP2 Collaboration. To be submitted. ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

How big of an area of the sky is the BICEP2 survey?

So here is the BICEP2 picture: How big is that? How much of the sky? Say, compared to this picture of the CMB by Planck:
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Is Λ-CDM and no inflaton field compatible with the observed value of the scalar spectral index?

From the cosmic microwave background, one can extract the scalar spectral index $n_s$. It is measured to be smaller than 1 by several standard deviations. Wikipedia says that it is a parameter of the ...
2
votes
0answers
314 views

BICEP2 and string theory

Can anybody elaborate on the implications of the BICEP2 result for string theory? The discussion here What experiment would disprove string theory? suggests that refuting string theory is rather ...
3
votes
2answers
172 views

BICEP2 experiments

How was the polarization experimentally measured in the BICEP2 experiments and why did they look specifically at B-modes? Why is it implying the existence of gravitational waves and the need to ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

What do the BICEP2 results mean for string gas cosmology and the ekpyrotic universe?

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole and released ...
5
votes
2answers
385 views

What experiments compete with BICEP 2, and when are their results expected?

The recent results of the BICEP 2 experiment published on March 17th 2014, has generated a lot of media attention, with the general consensus being that "this is a major discovery" perhaps leading to ...
72
votes
5answers
6k views

What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

superhorizon mode and cmb

During the period of inflation, perturbations went out of the Hubble horizon (Hubble radius, R = 1/aH) because the Hubble radius was decreasing during that time. After inflation, the Hubble radius ...
6
votes
2answers
241 views

Does the Cosmic Microwave Background obey $\sigma T^4$?

The fact that the CMB has a temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin is well publicized, but I have a harder time finding a measure of the wattage per unit area. The Wikipedia article on the CMB is totally ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

Spread and direction of the cosmic background radiation

Something I can never understand is that where the cosmic background radiation spreads? If I know well, the cosmic background radiation is actually the light of the Big Bang. If it happened exactly ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

Causal structure of the inflationary multiverse

In the multiverse as it is described by eternal inflation, it is not clear to me what is its causal structure and in particular if the bubble-universes are causally connected. We start from a ...
4
votes
1answer
465 views

Inflation and scalar spectral index

I've been reading that the results from the Planck satellite constrain a number called the "scalar spectral index" to be 0.96 rather than 1 at the 5-sigma level. This is supposed to be big news, but ...
2
votes
2answers
204 views

What are the limitations of the FLRW metric?

I was wondering, given how in any other area of life making an explosion spherically symmetric is more or less impossible is there any reason to expect that the universe is? I appreciate that the FLRW ...
6
votes
1answer
497 views

Inflation Scale via CMB Polarization

COBE, WMAP, and now PLANCK, have or are in the process of measuring anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. WMAP has dectected E-mode polarization from electron Thomson scattering, but not ...