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Cosmology from the Cosmic Microwave Background Katy Lancaster Astrophysics Group.

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Presentation on theme: "Cosmology from the Cosmic Microwave Background Katy Lancaster Astrophysics Group."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cosmology from the Cosmic Microwave Background Katy Lancaster Astrophysics Group

2 Who am I? Postdoc in the Physics department working with Professor Mark Birkinshaw Previously: –PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, working on similar topics –MSci at Bristol 1995-1999!

3 Astrophysics: That branch of astronomy which treats of the physical or chemical properties of the celestial bodies. Hence astrophysicist, a student of astronomical physics.

4 OBSERVATIONAL Observe celestial bodies (stars, galaxies etc) at various wavelengths Fit theoretical models to data to choose the most appropriate THEORETICAL Simulate celestial bodies (stellar evolution, galaxy formation etc) Create models of possible physical processes

5 OBSERVATIONAL Observe celestial bodies (stars, galaxies etc) at various wavelengths Fit theoretical models to data to choose the most appropriate THEORETICAL Simulate celestial bodies (stellar evolution, galaxy formation etc) Create models of possible physical processes


7 Stars CMBAGN Planets Galaxies Clusters REDSHIFT Stars CMB AGN Planets Galaxies Clusters REDSHIFT Aside….. Redshift: The Doppler shift observed due to the expansion of the Universe The light from an object moving away from us is shifted to longer wavelengths ie towards the red end of the visible spectrum.


9 Multi-wavelength information is essential in all branches of Astronomy In my work: mainly radio frequencies, but still spanning the range 30-300GHz (requires different technology) Can also combine with X-ray data and lensing data (optical) More about this later! Now onto the specifics

10 Topics in Astrophysics….. Solar System: planets, the sun Stars: stellar composition, stellar evolution, star formation, supernovae, extra-solar planets Galaxies: structure, properties, stellar velocities (dark matter), formation, evolution, clustering… Active galaxies: mechanisms, power sources (black holes) High-energy phenomena: Gamma ray bursts Galaxy clusters: galaxy properties, gas properties, lensing (dark matter), super clustering…. Large scale structure, structure formation theories Cosmology: properties of the Universe as a whole, formation (the Big Bang), fate??

11 Cosmology: The science or theory of the universe as an ordered whole, and of the general laws which govern it. Also, a particular account or system of the universe and its laws.

12 Big questions in cosmology Is the Universe open or closed? –Depends on the mean density –We can constrain this using the CMB What is the Universe made from? –Normal stuff plus Dark Matter –What is Dark Matter? Particle physicists working on it! Why does it appear to be accelerating? –It is being pushed by Dark Energy –We can constrain this using the CMB Critical density: Universe expands forever Less dense: Expansion rate increases More dense: Universe will collapse Accelerating: Dark energy???

13 My Work: COSMOLOGY from: –The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) –The interaction of the CMB with Galaxy Clusters via the Sunyaev Zeldovich Effect OBSERVATIONAL - ie obtaining data, data processing, extracting science Tenerife, Poland, Hawaii, Taiwan….. Very hot topics in Astrophysics at the moment!

14 Talk Structure: The Big Bang and production of the Cosmic Microwave Background Galaxy Clusters and the Sunyaev Zeldovich Effect The Science we can hope to learn via observations of the above Current Research

15 The Big Bang


17 The Big Bang Not really an explosion Universe expanded rapidly as a whole Universe is still expanding today as a result of the Big Bang Matter was created in the form of tiny particles (protons, neutrons, electrons) Too hot for normal stuff to form (eg atoms, molecules)

18 PROTON NEUTRON ELECTRON COSMIC SOUP Charged particles - photons scatter (like fog)

19 300,000 years later Much cooled, atoms form, photons escape

20 Formation of the CMB The Universe is initially hot, dense and ionised Photons continually scatter from charged particles until…. ….temperature decreases and atoms form (neutral particles) Photons escape and stream freely through the Universe. Observe the same photons today, much cooled, as the Cosmic Microwave Background

21 The CMB today Can observe the CMB photons today, 13.7Gyr after the Big Bang Radiation has been highly redshifted by the Hubble Expansion Much cooled: 2.73 K (compare this with 3000K at recombination) Conclusive evidence for the Big Bang theory - proves Universe was once in thermal equilibrium So..... what does it look like?

22 Observe blank sky with a radio telescope. Rather than darkness, see Uniform, high-energy glow High sensitivity measurements reveal......


24 Tiny temperature differences When the CMB photons escaped, structures were starting to form These structures have now become galaxies The structure formation processes have affected the CMB and we see the imprint as hot and cold spots Very difficult to measure!

25 What does the CMB tell us? Measure the strength of the temperature differences on different scales, eg:

26 What does the CMB tell us? Measure the strength of the temperature differences on different scales, eg:

27 What does the CMB tell us? Measure the strength of the temperature differences on different scales Theorists: come up with a model including all of the physics of CMB/structure formation Observers: fit the model to real observations of the CMB The model contains many parameters which describe the Universe


29 Parameters The function on the previous slide is complex and involves many parameters including: –Density of Universe in ORDINARY MATTER –Density of Universe in DARK MATTER –Density of Universe in DARK ENERGY –(The sum of which is the total density, and governs the fate of the Universe as discussed earlier). We can constrain some of the big questions in cosmology by observing the CMB

30 Current best model The Universe appears to be flat –Ratio of total density to critical density =1 But measurements suggest that only 30% of this density can come from matter –Contributions from ordinary and dark matter This points towards the existence of something else which we call Dark Energy –Dark energy is believed to be pushing the Universe outwards, i.e. accelerating the expansion


32 What next for CMB research? New satellite, Planck, launch date 2008? This, and some ground based experiments are trying to measure CMB polarisation (difficult!) Another route: look for secondary features in the CMB (ie those that have occurred since the Big Bang)

33 Other imprints on the CMB Lets forget the tiny temperature fluctuations for now! Majority of CMB photons have travelled through the Universe unimpeded Some have interacted with ionised material on the way Main contributor: Galaxy clusters

34 Rich Clusters - congregations of hundreds or even thousands of galaxies See cluster galaxies and lensing arcs in the optical But only around 5% of a clusters mass is in galaxies (Most of the mass is in Dark Matter) But a sizeable fraction is found in hot gas......

35 X-rays - see hot gas via Bremstrahlung emission 10-30% of total mass Chandra Image of the Coma cluster

36 Cluster Gas Gas trapped in huge gravitational potential Hot, dense and energetic Ionised - may interact with incident radiation (such as the CMB) Believed to share the same characteristics as Universal matter

37 Sunyaev and Zeldovich Postulated that the CMB could interact with the gas in galaxy clusters The Sunyaev Zeldovich (SZ) Effect

38 The SZ Effect Low energy CMB photon collides with high energy cluster electron Photon receives energy boost Net effect: shift CMB to higher frequencies in the direction of a cluster

39 At low radio frequencies, observe decrement (shadow) towards a cluster. Strength is proportional to the temperature and density of the cluster gas No dependence on redshift!!!


41 Very briefly: –SZ can be used to find how much gas there is in a cluster compared with its total mass. This tells us about the matter density of the Universe –SZ can also be used to constrain the distance scale - because we dont understand the geometry of the Universe it is difficult to infer distances directly SZ Science

42 In most branches of Astronomy, it is difficult to observe very distant objects The SZ effect is redshift-independent, so in theory we can observe ALL clusters in existence Current hot topic: surveying the sky using radio telescopes to find new clusters via the SZ effect Exciting new Science!

43 Generate catalogues of ALL clusters Cluster evolution –Study how cluster properties change as a function of distance (and hence cluster age) Evolution of the Universe –Study how the cluster number density changes with redshift: cosmology Cluster surveys


45 OCRA New detector on Torun telescope, Poland Good results from 4 well-known clusters Now observing larger sample Future: array receiver, blind surveys

46 AMiBA Taiwanese project, based in Hawaii Testing observations with 7 dishes Ultimately: 19 dishes? Very powerful survey instrument

47 What do we expect to see?

48 Problems….. The SZ effect is TINY Galaxy clusters contain galaxies, which may emit radio waves and drown the SZ signal –Require further information, or observations at multiple frequencies. –Radio galaxies are less bright at higher frequencies, but higher frequency observations suffer from atmospheric contamination Remember the fluctuations in the CMB itself? They can also contaminate! –Go to higher resolution Can overcome most problems but its not easy!

49 Summary The CMB is relic radiation from the Big Bang –Contains the imprint of early structure formation The CMB may interact with ionised structures along its path towards us –The dominant process is the Sunyaev Zeldovich effect in galaxy clusters Observing the CMB can tell us about important cosmological parameters… ….but Sunyaev Zeldovich studies are really the next step

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