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SISSA at the forefront of the search for cosmological gravitational waves

31 July 2023
The RadioForegroundsPlus project funded under the Horizon Europe programme

The 'RadioForegroundsPlus' project has received funding of around 200,000 euros from the European Research Council as part of the Horizon Europe programme and will see SISSA at the forefront of the management of research teams and the preparation of data analysis algorithms for the search for cosmological gravitational waves. Partners in the initiative will be the Institute of Astrophysics of Cantabria (IFCA), the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands in Spain, the Universities of Manchester and Oxford in the UK and the National Research Centre in France.

The aim of the project is strategically to search for signals of cosmological gravitational waves emitted during the Cosmic Inflation, i.e. in the very first moments of the expansion of the universe. These signals are hidden in the cosmic microwave background, the 'fossil' light left over from the Big Bang. This light is polarised, and the properties of this polarisation contain valuable information about the conditions of the early universe. However, the signal from the cosmic microwave background is weak compared to the emissions generated by our galaxy, so it is extremely important to be able to measure and understand these 'foreground' emissions in order to subtract them and access the cosmological signal.

"In this context of global effort, it is extremely important to use the data available at frequencies contiguous to those that will be observed because they can give us decisive information with respect to galactic contamination of the cosmological signal," explains Carlo Baccigalupi, coordinator of the Astrophysics and Cosmology (APC) group at SISSA. 

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