We present the first linear polarization measurements from the 2015 long-duration balloon flight of Spider, which is an experiment that is designed to map the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on degree angular scales. The results from these measurements include maps and angular power spectra from observations of 4.8% of the sky at 95 and 150 GHz, along with the results of internal consistency tests on these data. While the polarized CMB anisotropy from primordial density perturbations is the dominant signal in this region of sky, Galactic dust emission is also detected with high significance. Galactic synchrotron emission is found to be negligible in the Spider bands. We employ two independent foreground-removal techniques to explore the sensitivity of the cosmological result to the assumptions made by each. The primary method uses a dust template derived from Planck data to subtract the Galactic dust signal. A second approach, which constitutes a joint analysis of Spider and Planck data in the harmonic domain, assumes a modified-blackbody model for the spectral energy distribution of the dust with no constraint on its spatial morphology. Using a likelihood that jointly samples the template amplitude and r parameter space, we derive 95% upper limits on the primordial tensor-to-scalar ratio from Feldman-Cousins and Bayesian constructions, finding r < 0.11 and r < 0.19, respectively. Roughly half the uncertainty in r derives from noise associated with the template subtraction. New data at 280 GHz from Spider's second flight will complement the Planck polarization maps, providing powerful measurements of the polarized Galactic dust emission.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science