AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 55 Warner Prize Lecture
Invited, Thursday, 11:40am-12:30pm, June 2, 2005, Ballroom B

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[55.01] High Resolution Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

W.L. Holzapfel (UC, Berkeley)

The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation provides a view of the Universe as it existed 400,000 years after the Big Bang. This snapshot of the early Universe encodes a wealth of information about the constituents of the Universe and perhaps the mechanism of inflation. Observations of primordial CMB temperature fluctuations have played a key role in the development and testing of the emerging standard cosmological model. Recently, the WMAP experiment has produced a map of the CMB over the entire sky with resolution of about 20 arcminutes. Despite this stunning achievement, higher resolution observations of CMB anisotropy continue to play a role in improving constraints on the Dark Matter density and the spectrum of primordial fluctuations from inflation. In addition to being a unique probe of the early Universe, the CMB has the potential to become a powerful tool for studying the growth of structure. As photons travel from the surface of last scattering to our telescopes, they interact with the intervening matter. In particular, these photons can be scattered by hot electrons bound to clusters of galaxies. The resulting spectral distortion, the Sunyeav-Zel'dovich Effect (SZE), has a surface brightness that is independent of redshift and, therefore, provides a way to search for and study distant galaxy clusters. The SZE is a promising probe of the growth of structure and has the potential to place interesting constraints on the Dark Energy equation of state. This ambitious goal requires high resolution and brightness sensitivity surveys over large areas of the sky. In this talk, I will review the state of the field and discuss the potential of the new generation of experiments set to begin observation in the next few years.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://cosmology.berkeley.edu/group/swlh/acbar/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: swlh@cosmology.berkeley.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.