CMB Polarization

Spider is a balloon-borne experiment designed and flown to study the cosmic microwave background. More information about Spider can be found at


By studying to polarization of the anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, the Spider team hopes to complement and improve the results of Planck Satellite. While the 2015 flight of the Spider experiment lasted only about two weeks, because it has many more detectors than Planck had, Spider should be able to improve Planck measurements of cosmological parameters, especially the so-called "optical depth to reionization" ("tau") and the Inflationary tensor-to-scalar ratio.


While much of the data analysis for Spider happens in the United States, the potential graduate student would work remotely with Dr. Ken Ganga directly and the rest of the Spider team remotely in most cases. The work would be centered around cleaning and reducing the raw, time-ordered data to make maps, as well as searching for problems in the data and using the data for cosmology.


While Spider already has data from its first, 2015 flight, there will be another flight with higher frequency detectors, which will give Spider still more ability to discern between primordial signals and any spurious Galactic signals which may contaminate the data.


Ken Ganga






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