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MAP 5-Year Results Released

March 9, 2008

MAP 5-Year Results Released

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that we were enthusing about the results from the first three years of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite. Now the team has put out an impressive series of papers discussing the results of the first five years of data. Here is what the CMB looks like, with galaxy and foregrounds and monopole and dipole subtracted, from Ned Wright’s Cosmology Tutorial:

WMAP 5-year sky

The headline two years ago was “Cosmology Makes Sense.” (That was my headline, anyway — others were not quite as accurate.) This continues to be true — the biggest piece of news isn’t that the results have overturned any foundations, but that the concordance model with dark matter, dark energy, and ordinary matter continues to work. The WMAP folks have produced an elaborate cosmological parameters table that runs the numbers for different sets of assumptions (with and without spatial curvature, running spectral index, etc), and for different sets of data (not just WMAP but also supernovae, lensing, etc). Everything is basically consistent with a flat universe comprised of 72% vacuum energy, 23% dark matter, and 5% ordinary matter. The perturbations are close to scale-free, but still seem to be a little larger on long wavelengths than shorter ones (0.014 < 1-ns < 0.067 at 95% confidence). Probably the most fun result is that there is, for the first time, evidence from the CMB that neutrinos exist! Good to know..

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