cosmic microwave background

B-mode discovery telescope

Direct Evidence of Big Bang Inflation

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.

Planck cosmic microwave background

Planck Spacecraft Shut Down

After four years of exquisite observations, the latest mission to study the universe's earliest light has been shuttered. But this end is a happy one and comes with a significant cosmological legacy.

Planck cosmic microwave background

Planck: Best Map Yet of Cosmic Creation

Planck mission scientists have released the first half of their observations of the cosmic microwave background. The results are a stunning confirmation of today's standard model for how the universe formed and grew. But they also raise some head-scratchers.

Planck temperature map of universe

What’s Next for Inflation Cosmology – New Updates

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...