Observations of the relic radiation from the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), can provide a wealth of information about the parameters describing the cosmological model, and also about the initial conditions of the Universe (i.e. about how inflation happened).
As a posdoc in the CMB group at the IAC, I am involved in three instruments dedicated to observations of the CMB: the Very Small Array; the COSMOSOMAS Experiment; and the QUIJOTE-CMB Experiment, which will start operations at the beginning of 2009. In addition, I am also working in the preparation for the scientific exploitation of the data from the Planck satellite.
The VSA has mapped with high sensitivity the microwave emission (with resolution of 11 arcmin) of selected sky regions. A detailed investigation showed that the features present in those maps are dominated by primordial CMB signals. An statistical analysis of these maps allowed to infer global properties of our Universe, by means of the angular power spectrum. In particular, it was found that the density of matter and energy is such that at large scales the geometry of the Universe is flat. We have also set constraints on the matter content of the Universe, and obtained independent estimates of the baryonic density in good agreement with results from Big Bang nucleosynthesis (see Rubiño- Martín et al. (2002), or Rebolo et al. (2004) for details).
With COSMOSOMAS, we have obtained four maps (10, 13, 15 and 17GHz) at 1 degree resolution covering 1/4th of the sky. These maps permitted the study of the physical mechanisms responsible for microwave emission in our galaxy. The main result is the discovery of anomalous microwave emission from a molecular complex in the Auriga-Perseus zone (see figure) which can not be understood in terms of classical emission mechanisms (synchrotron, free-free and dust vibration). This anomalous emission may be due to electric dipole radiation of fast spinning molecules, a new microwave emission mechanisms suggested a few years ago.