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Astrophsyics

PCOS Science Goals

Precisely measure the cosmological parameters governing the evolution of the universe and test the inflation hypothesis of the Big Bang

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) originated just 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the Universe was dense, hot, and opaque. As the Universe cooled, the light was decoupled and escape from the matter. We observe that same light today, stretched by the expansion of the universe to a cold 2.7K glow. Observations of the CMB have driven our understanding of the early Universe, and are one of the few probes of the inflationary epoch. Inflation describes the brief period of extraordinary expansion where the Universe went from the atomic scale to visible scales, and where small density fluctuations ultimately led to the large-scale structure—galaxies and clusters of galaxies—that we observe today. Maps of the CMB provide a precise measurement of the geometry of the Universe, and show that it is "flat," governed by Euclidean geometry on cosmic scales. The detailed spatial and statistical properties of CMB maps are consistent with the predictions of inflation. However, the physical process behind inflation remains unknown. New measurements of the polarization properties of the CMB will help uncover this process, which lies at energies and densities beyond standard particle physics, and beyond terrestrial particle accelerators. By searching for a characteristic polarization signal from a background of gravitational waves produced by inflation, we can infer the energy scale of inflation, which may lie at the scale of grand unification of the forces of nature.


The European Space Agency LISA observatory


PCOS News

Program News and Announcements

21 October 2020
Revised submission date: Applications Sought for PhysPAG Executive Committee. Submissions now due November 6. »  Details.
14 October 2020
Astrophysics Advisory Committee meeting on 19–21 October 2020 »  Details.
14 October 2020
Astrophysics Explorers Announcement of Opportunity Community Announcement »  Details.
17 September 2020
NASA announces major revisions in Astrophysics Research and Analysis opportunity. Due dates remain unchanged. »  Details.
17 September 2020
NASA releases Citizen Science Seed Funding Program opportunity. Notices of Intent requested by 13 October 2020, with proposals due 11 December 2020. »  Details.
17 September 2020
NASA extends due date for Astrophysics Pioneers opportunity. Proposals are now due 8 October 2020. »  Details.
15 September 2020
Applications Sought for PhysPAG Executive Committee »  Details.
9 September 2020
Swift Cycle 17 Guest Investigator proposals due on 25 September 2020 »  Details.
4 September 2020
SMD Community Town Hall on Thurs 10 September »  Details.
4 September 2020
NuSTAR requests self-nominations for Users' Committee »  Details.
18 August 2020
XMM-Newton Guest Observer Announcement of Opportunity. »  Details.
17 August 2020
New Phase-1 Proposal Due Date for NICER Guest Observer Cycle 3. »  Details.
29 July 2020
Community Announcement: Intention to Amend ROSES-20 via a Future Appendix for Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM). »  Details.
27 July 2020
Snowmass 21 planning underway, with several topical groups on PCOS-related science. »  Details.
23 July 2020
New deadline set for JWST Cycle 1 General Observer proposals. Proposals will be due by 08:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday November 24, 2020. »  Details.
2 July 2020
NASA releases final text for Astrophysics Pioneers opportunity. Notices of Intent due 13 August 2020; proposals due 1 October 2020. »  Details.

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Links

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  • NASA Official: Phil Newman
  • Web Curator: Pat Tyler
Goddard Space Flight Center
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