Paper reporting primordial gravitational waves published

Researchers acknowledge that interstellar dust may affect the signal

Data from the BICEP2 telescope (shown) may have provided the first evidence of gravitational waves and cosmic inflation, but scientists aren't sure how galactic dust affects the signal. 

Steffen Richter, Harvard University

Guest post by Christopher Crockett

The much celebrated and debated paper reporting the detection of primordial gravitational waves from a split-second after the Big Bang is finally published. It appears June 19 in Physical Review Letters.

The publication follows months of debate as to whether or not the researchers were justified in claiming a detection of gravitational waves (SN: 6/13/14). The authors, though steadfast in their claim that the signal of gravitational waves is real, acknowledge that a competing signal from interstellar dust may be higher than originally assumed. The calculations cannot “exclude the possibility of dust emission bright enough to explain the entire excess signal,” the team writes.

More Stories from Science News on Cosmology