WMAP Status

The WMAP mission has now been in place and taking data near the L2 Lagrange point for four years, with two more years still to go. Spectacular results from the analysis of the first year’s worth of data were reported in Feb. 2003, and the second year’s data was initially supposed to appear a year later, in Feb. 2004, but they’re now a year and a half late. For some reporting on this, see this site with cosmology news. Just recently the WMAP team has put up something new on their mission status page, where they state:

While the first-year results were based mainly on temperature measurements, the continued mission operations are now primarily focused on the much weaker polarized signals – an invaluable “stretch” goal of the extended mission. Analyses of these weaker signals are more difficult and continue with steady progress. The data and results will be provided as soon as calibration and systematic error analyses have been completed, and the data files have been adequately documented for use by researchers.

Are they seeing the effects of gravitational waves in this polarization data? Anyone with inside information want to take advantage of the ability to post here anonymously and tell us what is going on? Or e-mail me, I promise to protect the confidentiality of my sources, even going to jail with Judith Miller if necessary.

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15 Responses to WMAP Status

  1. D R Lunsford says:

    Why are they “keeping secrets”? Cosmologists just can’t be trusted 🙂

    I’m assuming that light and gravity are related, and the effects are galaxy-local and solar-system local, and superimposed.


  2. WMAP boss says:

    Let me use the anonymous character of this forum. We’ve looked at the polarization and gravitational waves data in detail and they perfectly confirm the string-theoretical scenarios of inflation. In fact, when we read the data carefully, they say “the opponents of string theory are incredible morons”.

    We are a very careful team so we must still double-check all of our procedures and calculations before we publish the results. 😉

  3. woit says:

    OK, Lubos, thanks for the inside information. I’ll carefully protect your anonymity….

  4. WMAP boss says:

    Thanks for giving me an alias and for protecting my anonymity, and happy wishful thinking!

  5. D R Lunsford says:

    It’s obviously dipole moments associated with the various planes determined by life on Earth. It’s the anthropic principle for real!


  6. Jokes aside, it is simply incredible folly for the WMAP people to carry on like this. Far from establishing their credibility, they are undermining the credibility of the 2003 data release. Way to go guys. Not.

  7. D R Lunsford says:

    If there were simply a correlation with the ecliptic one would have reason to doubt their methods. But correlation with both the ecliptic and galactic planes makes one believe they are afraid to release the data because the Big Bang Inflator priesthood would be offended and they would be shown the instruments of torture.

    “E pur sono correlato.”


  8. Quantoken says:

    Obviously Peter is more interested in crackpot theories that explain the microwave radiation background of the milky way galaxy using gravitational waves, rather than the obvious fact that why some of the WMAP team members had to leave. There is no way they would allow release of data that could challenge the orthodox theory, nor would Peter tolerate it either.

    It’s the natural local background, stupid!


  9. woit says:

    I have no idea why some people are posting comments here about members of the WMAP being forced to leave or being unwilling to release data because it disagrees with one theory or another. If anyone has specific information about WMAP scientists being forced out, that would be interesting, but otherwise, stop repeating nonsense.

    As for whether these scientists are willing to release data that doesn’t agree with a theory, remember that they aren’t theorists, so have nothing invested in any particular theory. If their data could kill the standard consensus cosmological model, I think they would be elated, since this would surely win them a Nobel prize. But before releasing this data, they might want to take the time to check carefully for other explanations.

    I have no idea whether things are taking so long because the WMAP people are seeing something unexpected and exciting in the data, or whether they aren’t and it is just a lot of work to carefully analyze the possible systematic errors in their results before releasing them. If anyone actually knows anything about this, let’s hear from them. Completely uninformed attacks on the scientific ethics of the WMAP scientists will be deleted.

  10. D R Lunsford says:

    Two words: open source.


  11. Pingback: Not Even Wrong » Blog Archive » More on WMAP

  12. mikejones says:

    The lack of openness about what is going on with the WMAP project is a problem. To their credit, the WMAP team gave some explanation for the delay. I’d be even happier if they gave even a rough time table for the next data release, however. Many other space science projects give weekly or at least monthly status reports. Take the other big player in cosmology these days, the SDSS; the SDSS team announce when new data releases will take place and the previous releases have been on time.

    The WMAP satellite has finished taking all four years of observations as of this August. There is even talk of an extension of the mission for another four years. I predict that the reason for the delay is two-fold: (i) there is much more data to be analyzed, and (ii) the amplitude of the polarization signal is ~10% of the temperature signal. I am a fan of the standard cosmological model. After years of being labeled a branch of metaphysics (cosmology) it is nice to see that humanity is getting gaining a substantive understading of the size, shape, and evolution of the universe. If I had to bet, I’d put my money on the next WMAP release providing us with a stunning and resounding confirmation of LCDM.

  13. Kea says:

    “If I had to bet, I’d put my money on the next WMAP release providing us with a stunning and resounding confirmation of LCDM.”

    How much money?

  14. woit says:

    By the way, just to show that I’m not much of a cosmologist, what does “LCDM” stand for?

  15. Quantum_Ranger says:

    Just to throw a spanner in the workings and terminology:

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