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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.



PCOS News

Program News and Announcements

7 November 2019
NASA HQ has announced that all GO & GI programs will be converting to dual-anonymous peer review over the next year. »  Details
30 October 2019
The deadline to submit abstracts to give a lightning talk at the Jan AAS PCOS & PhysPAG session on a revolutionary multimessenger / multimission astrophysics discovery that involves at least one NASA mission is extended to Wed 27 Nov 2019.
7 October 2019
The deadline for Call for Nominations to Augment the NASA LISA Study Team has been extended to 11 Oct 2019. »  Details
30 September 2019
The application deadline for "The PI Launchpad: From Science Idea to NASA Mission" is extended to 15 Oct 2019. NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate (the level up from NASA Astrophysics Division) is co-organizing the Nov 18–20 workshop in Tuscon, AZ, in the interests of broadening the pool of potential NASA PIs. »  Details
19 September 2019
The PhysPAG EC nomination deadline, including self-nominations, is extended to Monday 30 Sept 2019. We welcome self nominations and particularly encourage people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Useful skills include good communication, a desire and ability to facilitate community organization and collaborative conclusions, and a broad perspective. See the announcement letter with instructions for nominating
13 September 2019
Submit your abstract today to give a 5min lightning talk on a revolutionary multimessenger / multimission astrophysics discovery that involves at least one NASA mission at the Jan AAS PCOS & PhysPAG session! Abstracts due by 31 Oct 2019.

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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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