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The Planck satellite and cosmic concordance

Marius Millea

In 2013, the Planck satellite, the third generation Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) satellite following COBE and WMAP, took its last observations and was flung out from L2 orbit where it had been collecting data since 2009. The final release of data and papers from the Planck collaboration will take place this fall of 2017. Planck's high fidelity maps of the CMB temperature and polarization have taught us an enormous amount about our universe, and I will review some of what we have learned, with a focus on giving simple explanations of the way in which these observations have constrained and confirmed the ΛCDM model. Despite the good agreement with ΛCDM, much attention has been given to possible hints of new physics in the Planck data, and I will describe our endeavor to confirm or deny them using the computational resources from citizen scientists at Cosmology@Home. Part of these hints could be explained as an excess gravitational lensing distortion of the CMB beyond that expected. The gravitational lensing effect will be pristinely measured by future CMB experiments, and I will describe my recent work developing methods to optimally infer the gravitational lensing potential from CMB observations.

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