Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gravitational Lensing of CMB Light

This artist’s impression shows how photons in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB, as detected by ESA’s Planck space telescope) are deflected by the gravitational lensing effect of massive cosmic structures as they travel across the Universe. Gravitational lensing creates tiny, additional distortions to the mottled pattern of the CMB temperature fluctuations. A small fraction of the CMB is polarized; one component of this polarized light, B-modes, have been given an additional signature by gravitational lensing. This imprint has been found for the first time by combining data from the ground-based South Pole Telescope and ESA’s Herschel space observatory.

Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

Note: For more information, see PIA17448: Ancient Light Deflected, Long-Sought Pattern of Ancient Light Detected and Herschel Throws New Light on Oldest Cosmic Light.

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