Researchers at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) are designing computational tools to create maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). NERSC's Julian Borrill, Radek Stompor, and Andrew Jaffe developed the Microwave Anisotropy Dataset Computational Analysis Package (MADCAP) with an emphasis on mapmaking.
Mapping the CMB requires accurately accounting for the noise in the data. "To make a map it takes a special code to weigh and account for the noise in each pixel at each point in time," Borrill says. The special code is called MADmap.
Although MADmap was designed with CMB data in mind, "it was always intended to be independent of the specifics of any one experiment," Borrill says. MADmap has been used in several different experiments, including MAXIMA, which mapped a portion of the northern sky in 1998, BOOMERANG, which circled the South Pole in 1999, and the European Space Agency's Planck satellite.
Another satellite, Herschel, carries a powerful infrared telescope, and two highly sensitive bolometers as part of the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer.
From Berkeley Lab News Center
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