Cosmic Microwave Background

Experiment Guide
1.  Pre-Lab
2.  CMB Guide
Related Material
1.  CMB Review
2.  Detective Story
3.  Radiometers
Useful Links
1.  Nobel Prize
2.  Measuring RF power
3.  19 GHz Receiver LNB

 

 

 

 

Overview

In this physics experiment you will study the Cosmic Microwave Background (1978 Nobel Prize in Physics) by measuring the microwave power at 19 GHz coming from the sky; you will make these measurements as a function of airmass by pointing a microwave horn at various angles relative to the vertical. The atmosphere emits microwave noise, so you must correct for it by extrapolating your measurements to zero airmass. You will calibrate the radiometer using microwave absorbers at room temperature and in liquid nitrogen. The CMB is direct evidence of the Big Bang and allows us to see the universe at an early phase of its evolution. In your experiment, exploration and analysis of systematic error is critical, as well as full statistical analysis.