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Cosmology with Planck: an all-sky temperature and polarisation analysis



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Crowe, Christopher Michael 


Cosmology is now a precision science. The temperature anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have been exquisitely mapped by many experiments over the last decade. The Planck satellite was launched in 2009, observed the sky in temperature and polarisation, and released the nominal mission temperature data to the public in 2013. Planck has shed new light on CMB polarisation anisotropies and the polarisation signal from our own galaxy, and knowledge of the galactic emission forms a central part of this analysis presented in this thesis. I first introduce the background cosmology and review what we know about CMB temperature and polarisation anisotropies, including their mathematical formulation and representation on the sphere. I review our knowledge of the origin of galactic polarised foregrounds, particularly electron synchrotron and thermal dust emission. I then describe the generation of polarised CMB maps from an input cosmological model, and the generation of CMB polarised foregrounds using a variety of methods to create full-sky maps of the microwave sky at the Planck observing frequencies between 30 and 353 GHz. I develop a parametric fitting maximum-likelihood polarised component separation routine with correlated foreground parameters to extract the CMB and associated foregrounds to a high precision, and show that my method can reliably recover a primordial B-mode polarisation signal at r = 0.1 at multiple map resolutions. I then test the sky model against the full mission Planck data to examine how accurately the foregrounds are simulated, and find that along the galactic plane the simulations are accurate, but at high latitudes the agreement worsens. I also compare the polarisation morphology to that seen in the WMAP data and find a tension between Planck and WMAP. I present an analysis of the dx8 polarisation data in terms of polarised amplitudes and orientations, and investigate a variety of foreground separation routines to get a feel for the reliability of the data. Significant systematic issues are found and I conclude that in their current state, the polarisation data are not reliable enough for precise cosmology. Finally I develop a Fisher matrix analysis of the temperature power spectrum using the full mission covariance matrix to explore the parameter space around a CosmoMC simulation, and extract the principal components for different models. I use this to explore a strange oscillation in the power spectrum and conclude that it is a statistical fluke, a conclusion confirmed in a recent data release. I close by offering extensions to the work and a look into the future of the field.




Efstathiou, George



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge