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Thread: Cosmic inflation: 'Spectacular' discovery hailed

  1. #1 Cosmic inflation: 'Spectacular' discovery hailed 
    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    This is an article from BBC News, not an actual Science website.

    Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

    Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

    It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

    The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel.

    "This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University.

    "I've seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know," he told BBC News.

    The breakthrough was announced by an American team working on a project known as BICEP2.

    This has been using a telescope at the South Pole to make detailed observations of a small patch of sky.

    The aim has been to try to find a residual marker for "inflation" - the idea that the cosmos experienced an exponential growth spurt in its first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second.
    You can read the rest of the article on BBC News.


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  3. #2  
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    Found it on Science Daily. First direct evidence of cosmic inflation -- ScienceDaily

    Haven't read it carefully enough to precis or find a killer quote.


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  4. #3  
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    Stunning!

    Here is a link to the research group's website: BICEP2 2014 Results Release
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    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    This is actually, to activate the 'Net meme, extraordinary. A Nobel Prize is not out of order, if this proves correct.

    Super-awesome find, Daecon.

    I petitition the Staff to move this to the Astronomy forum. I will report this post to request it, if that's OK with you Daecon. LMK.
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  6. #5  
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    That's fine with me, I'm sure one of the staff will see this and decide where it's best placed, no need to report anything.
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  7. #6  
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    It's fine here. We can make a duplicate thread in the Astronomy section maybe.
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    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    I have heard of this news too (the excitement is similar to the 'thrill' when the existence of the Higgs Boson was confirmed last year):
    Nature News has published an article for the laymen among their audience: All you need to know about gravitational waves : Nature News & Comment
    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; March 17th, 2014 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Grammatical error.
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    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Do it, you guys. Daecon gets an Astronomy Thread for this one. This is big news.
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    Einstein had predicted gravitation waves like they think they have found, but thought them to maybe too weak to be found. They did this in the Antarctic because in such cold air the water moisture in the air is low and it the moisture blocks the cosmic microwaves they think they have found. Super interesting to me as I am beginning a course with Harvard in astrophysics in about 10 days. I also presently work in repairing and calibrating test equipment that measures microwaves. Does anyone know what are gravitational waves? I have a fair understanding of electromagnetic waves, but have no idea what a gravitational wave may be yet (if they are proven to exist).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Einstein had predicted gravitation waves like they think they have found, but thought them to maybe too weak to be found. They did this in the Antarctic because in such cold air the water moisture in the air is low and it the moisture blocks the cosmic microwaves they think they have found. Super interesting to me as I am beginning a course with Harvard in astrophysics in about 10 days. I also presently work in repairing and calibrating test equipment that measures microwaves. Does anyone know what are gravitational waves? I have a fair understanding of electromagnetic waves, but have no idea what a gravitational wave may be yet (if they are proven to exist).
    Markus will appear shortly and educate us all no doubt. Meanwhile consider this:

    The Antarctic Telescope gets to look out through a hole in the Earth's electromagnetic shield and see subtle effects created in the incoming microwaves by gravity. This will be clear as General Relativity from the fact that light is bent by the Sun, as proved by Eddington, the first Astronomical Proof of General Relativity. From Wikipedia:
    Similarly, a 1919 expedition led by Eddington confirmed general relativity's prediction for the deflection of starlight by the Sun during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919,[8] making Einstein instantly famous.[9]
    Source.

    Guth should get a Nobel Prize now.
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    Schneib nominates Daeron's report of this for Post of the Month.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Einstein had predicted gravitation waves like they think they have found, but thought them to maybe too weak to be found. They did this in the Antarctic because in such cold air the water moisture in the air is low and it the moisture blocks the cosmic microwaves they think they have found. Super interesting to me as I am beginning a course with Harvard in astrophysics in about 10 days. I also presently work in repairing and calibrating test equipment that measures microwaves. Does anyone know what are gravitational waves? I have a fair understanding of electromagnetic waves, but have no idea what a gravitational wave may be yet (if they are proven to exist).
    Markus will appear shortly and educate us all no doubt. Meanwhile consider this:

    The Antarctic Telescope gets to look out through a hole in the Earth's electromagnetic shield and see subtle effects created in the incoming microwaves by gravity. This will be clear as General Relativity from the fact that light is bent by the Sun, as proved by Eddington, the first Astronomical Proof of General Relativity. From Wikipedia:
    Similarly, a 1919 expedition led by Eddington confirmed general relativity's prediction for the deflection of starlight by the Sun during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919,[8] making Einstein instantly famous.[9]
    Source.

    Guth should get a Nobel Prize now.
    This makes sense to me. I think it has long been seen that given huge distances and masses, that light is bent by huge masses. It may or not be true that it is also bent by small masses and distances, but they may be too small of effects for us to measure. Light is a fairly small section of the electro-magnetic wave frequency spectrum.

    One thing I am interested to see is if these gravitation waves relate to dark energy or matter. This may also prove Einsteins cosmological constant even though he was convinced that that idea was his greatest mistake.

    There is a lot of difference between near field and far field waves. Far fields are a lot easier to measure, as near field has so many reflections and refractions and positive and negative phase shifts.
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  14. #13  
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    OK.

    Astronomy it is.


    (Though I suspect this is the first of many threads coming from this research.)
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  15. #14  
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    Before I start cheering too loudly I want to see what the big guys say about it.
    I have seen too many "great discoveries" announced in the papers only to see them turn out to be mistakes.

    Some cautionary comments from Universe Today
    Rumors Flying Nearly as Fast as Their Subject: Have Gravitational Waves Been Detected?

    Another somewhat more cautionary report is from Ars Technica.
    Detection of primordial gravitational waves announced (Updated) | Ars Technica

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    Thanks, dan hunter.
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    Ripples in the gravity waves just as Einstein predicted.. That the news services took this and played it, forth item into the news tonight.. As I understand it ( and I am not saying I do..) It confirms that the big bang actually went Bang, which is a important conclusion. That it explains why the universe is... 'lumpy'. Gravity waves of resonance.. A great deal more to ingest.. Understanding it might be a little complicated yet..
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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    Ripples in the gravity waves just as Einstein predicted.. That the news services took this and played it, forth item into the news tonight.. As I understand it ( and I am not saying I do..) It confirms that the big bang actually went Bang, which is a important conclusion. That it explains why the universe is... 'lumpy'. Gravity waves of resonance.. A great deal more to ingest.. Understanding it might be a little complicated yet..
    Actually this is about what happened before the Big Bang. Apparently all the spacetime in our universe was created with nothing in it, and then the thing that created it (cosmological constant) underwent vacuum decay and dumped all its energy into this new, empty space. And that's where the Big Bang, and all the matter and energy in our universe, came from.

    This is the first hard, direct evidence of this Cosmic Inflation phase that preceded the Big Bang. This phase lasted until the universe was some 10-42 seconds old; then the Big Bang happened.
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    Let's slow down here. Ripples in the gravity waves? Gravity waves are not even proven yet, and there is no sort of proof that a cosmological constant even exists. Heck I don't think there is any proof that there is only one Universe - also a warning sign to me is how did an experiment in the Antarctic see what space telescopes have not yet seemed to see? I like it if something new has been discovered, but it is not yet proven to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    Ripples in the gravity waves just as Einstein predicted.. That the news services took this and played it, forth item into the news tonight.. As I understand it ( and I am not saying I do..) It confirms that the big bang actually went Bang, which is a important conclusion. That it explains why the universe is... 'lumpy'. Gravity waves of resonance.. A great deal more to ingest.. Understanding it might be a little complicated yet..
    Actually this is about what happened before the Big Bang. Apparently all the spacetime in our universe was created with nothing in it, and then the thing that created it (cosmological constant) underwent vacuum decay and dumped all its energy into this new, empty space. And that's where the Big Bang, and all the matter and energy in our universe, came from.

    This is the first hard, direct evidence of this Cosmic Inflation phase that preceded the Big Bang. This phase lasted until the universe was some 10-42 seconds old; then the Big Bang happened.
    That is illogical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Ripples in the gravity waves?
    That term makes little sense. I think what was meant is that gravitational waves can be considered "ripples" in the geometry of space-time.

    Gravity waves are not even proven yet
    If the latest findings from the South polar observatory are confirmed, there will be little doubt left as to their actual existence, given that we have known for some time about a number of other pieces of indirect evidence for them.

    As for their local direct detection, I would place some confidence in the eLISA project, set for launch in 2034.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    ... also a warning sign to me is how did an experiment in the Antarctic see what space telescopes have not yet seemed to see? ...
    Good point. I think the next step would be to set up another experiment to see if the results are repeatable.
    That seems like a good excuse to design and launch another satellite.
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  23. #22  
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    also a warning sign to me is how did an experiment in the Antarctic see what space telescopes have not yet seemed to see?
    'Cos it's probably like some of those detect-something-really-really-hard-to-distinguish thingies where you absolutely need a completely still and stable base to work from.

    And/or it's something that needs recalibration or resetting more than once as results come in. Anything in space has to be set up to require as little fidgeting as possible.

    Maybe there's no version of the equipment small enough for a space vehicle.

    Maybe a space based exercise would be feasible if they had the funding. But they're so far down the funding priority list for that that the Antarctica base was the best option.

    And/or half a dozen other things only an expert could suggest.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    Let's slow down here. Ripples in the gravity waves? Gravity waves are not even proven yet, and there is no sort of proof that a cosmological constant even exists.
    Gravity waves are independent of a cosmological constant. There is great deal of evidence in favor of a cosmological constant (or something effectively equivalent to one); there is somewhat less for inflation and for gravity waves. That being said, if there was inflation, then there should be certain features of the universe that reflect this, e.g., the ones seen in the recent press releases.
    Heck I don't think there is any proof that there is only one Universe
    Irrelevant to the issue at hand.
    - also a warning sign to me is how did an experiment in the Antarctic see what space telescopes have not yet seemed to see? I like it if something new has been discovered, but it is not yet proven to me.
    Why don't you look to see if any of the "telescopes" in orbit had the same sensors as the "telescopes" in the Antarctic?
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