Rumors are flying that the long-sought "smoking gun" for inflation has been found in polarization patterns in the cosmic microwave background. If so, it would confirm the inflation theory for how and why the Big Bang happened.
New analyses suggest that observations heralded as evidence for the universe’s brief growth spurt don’t conclusively show what researchers thought they did.
Researchers with an experiment based at the South Pole have discovered the long-sought "smoking gun" for inflation. The signal was hidden in polarization patterns in the cosmic microwave background and confirms physicists' audacious theory of how the Big Bang happened.
A new analysis of Planck data bolsters the claim that the polarization signal heralded as evidence for cosmic inflation is from dust instead.
Our July 2014 cover story was the apparent discovery of gravitational waves from the instant of inflation when the Big Bang took shape. Just as the article was printed, a serious challenge to the discovery appeared: the researchers had underestimated the amount of interstellar dust that could be contaminating their data. Here are more...