NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0454

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0454


PI: Aurelien A. Fraisse, Princeton University, fraisse@astro.princeton.edu
Address: Department of Astrophysical Sciences, 12 Peyton Hall - Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

CoI: Antonio Mario Magalhaes, Universidade de Sao Paulo
CoI: David N. Spergel, Princeton University
CoI: Richard J. Patterson, University of Virginia
CoI: Steven R. Majewski, University of Virginia

Title: Towards a Complete View of the High Galactic Latitude Dust Polarization Pattern

Abstract: The polarized emission from interstellar dust is one of the brightest Galactic foregrounds for studies of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) polarization. The detection of a curl-like polarization pattern in the CMB would have dramatic consequences for our understanding of inflation, the cornerstone of our current picture of the Universe. However, these ``B-modes" are expected to have a very low amplitude, typically one order of magnitude lower than that of the curl- free polarization pattern observed on large scales. In this context, the polarized emission from Galactic dust will dominate a primordial B- mode signal by one to two orders or magnitude, which will seriously hinder our ability to interpret the data collected by the \emphPlanck satellite and potential future missions such as \emphCMBPol unless a reliable dust template is available. We propose to acquire starlight polarization data for 400 lines-of-sight to K-giants located beyond the Galactic dust layer to complete the construction of a half-sky template that will provide the polarization direction of the Galactic dust emission to about 20%.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0454

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