Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Dark Energy & Matter, General Astronomy > Effect May Bring Universe’s Formation into Sharper Focus

Effect May Bring Universe’s Formation into Sharper Focus


The first observation of a cosmic effect theorized 40 years ago could provide astronomers with a more precise tool for understanding the forces behind the universe’s formation and growth, including the enigmatic phenomena of dark energy and dark matter.

A large research team from two major astronomy surveys reports in a paper submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters that scientists detected the movement of distant galaxy clusters via the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (kSZ) effect, which has never before been seen. The paper was recently posted on the arXiv preprint database, and was initiated at Princeton University by lead author Nick Hand as part of his senior thesis. Fifty-eight collaborators from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) projects are listed as co-authors.

Proposed in 1972 by Russian physicists Rashid Sunyaev and Yakov Zel’dovich, the kSZ effect results when the hot gas in galaxy clusters distorts the cosmic microwave background radiation — which is the glow of the heat left over from the Big Bang — that fills our universe. Radiation passing through a galaxy cluster moving toward Earth appears hotter by a few millionths of a degree, while radiation passing through a cluster moving away appears slightly cooler.

Full Story: http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/21/69O40/

  1. March 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Ooops… I just liked my own post…

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:36 am

      …nothing wrong with that….it’s a good post!

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