For a seemingly esoteric subject, the so-called B-mode polarization patterns that are expected to hide in the universe’s cosmic microwave background receive a lot of research attention. In our October 2013 issue, we highlighted the Polarbear project and also included a sky chart showing where current observing efforts are pointing. You might have noticed that most of them cluster in the southern hemisphere, crowded into the section around the South Celestial Pole. That’s because the North and South Celestial Poles happen to be far from the Milky Way’s dusty plane and therefore relatively free of our galaxy’s contamination.
Below, you’ll find the same list of current B-modes projects that we included with our article, but this time with links to the projects’ websites. Some of the projects have several websites; we generally only included one, but feel free to do your own poking around for more information.
This list is current as of 2013, but remember: in such a hopping field, more projects are sprouting up all the time.
- POLARBEAR: Polarization of Background Radiation. The current Huan Tran Telescope will be joined by two more to form the Simons Array in 2016.
- ACTPol: Atacama Cosmology Telescope – Polarization
- ABS: Atacama B-mode Search
Ground-based: South Pole
- SPTpol: Polarization-sensitive camera on the South Pole Telescope. There's also a fun blog written by the astronomers.
- BICEP2: Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization and Keck Array. BICEP is in its second iteration.
- QUBIC: Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology
Ground-based: Canary Islands
And for those readers wanting more info about the nitty-gritty of B-modes and how polarization is created, we recommend the excellent tutorial done by Dr. Wayne Hu. See his introduction to CMB polarization. Don't forget to click on the arrow at the bottom of the tutorial to take you to its next page (the arrow is easy to overlook).