PASIPHAE: Through the Veil of Dust to the Big Bang
The Department of Physics is excited to announce its involvement in PASIPHAE, a unique Astrophysics experiment set to take place at Skinakas Observatory and at the South African Astronomical Observatory, located near the city of Sutherland in South Africa. The experiement is led by Kostas Tassis, an Assistant Professor in our Department, and it was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The experiement is a collaborative effort of the Astrophysics Group in Crete (the joint Astrophysics group at the Institute of Plasma Physics, the University of Crete, the Foundation for Research and Technolohy-Hellas, and Skinakas Observatory) with the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune, India, the California Institute of Technology in the US, and the South African Astronomical Observatory. Additional funding is provided by Infosys, India, the South African National Equipment Program, and Caltech.
PASIPHAE will use unique, innovative polarimeters that are designed specifically for this purpose, to perform magnetic tomography of the Galaxy: it will allow scientists to deduce the 3-dimensional structure of the magnetic field and the dust that resides in our own Galaxy. Moreover removing the "veil" of Galactic dust the team will also be able to accurately estimate the polarization of the radiation emitted during the Big Bang in order to probe the first instants of the Universe, as well as the, yet-unknown, physics of Gravity at unprecedentedly high densities and temperatures. More information on the project are available here.
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