A Measurement of the Damping Tail of the Cosmic Microwave Background Power Spectrum with the South Pole Telescope

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics

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23 pages, 13 figures. Replaced with version accepted by ApJ. Data products are available at http://pole.uchicago.edu/public/

Scientific paper

We present a measurement of the angular power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT). The data consist of 790 square degrees of sky observed at 150 GHz during 2008 and 2009. Here we present the power spectrum over the multipole range 650 < ell < 3000, where it is dominated by primary CMB anisotropy. We combine this power spectrum with the power spectra from the seven-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) data release to constrain cosmological models. We find that the SPT and WMAP data are consistent with each other and, when combined, are well fit by a spatially flat, LCDM cosmological model. The SPT+WMAP constraint on the spectral index of scalar fluctuations is ns = 0.9663 +/- 0.0112. We detect, at ~5-sigma significance, the effect of gravitational lensing on the CMB power spectrum, and find its amplitude to be consistent with the LCDM cosmological model. We explore a number of extensions beyond the LCDM model. Each extension is tested independently, although there are degeneracies between some of the extension parameters. We constrain the tensor-to-scalar ratio to be r < 0.21 (95% CL) and constrain the running of the scalar spectral index to be dns/dlnk = -0.024 +/- 0.013. We strongly detect the effects of primordial helium and neutrinos on the CMB; a model without helium is rejected at 7.7-sigma, while a model without neutrinos is rejected at 7.5-sigma. The primordial helium abundance is measured to be Yp = 0.296 +/- 0.030, and the effective number of relativistic species is measured to be Neff = 3.85 +/- 0.62. The constraints on these models are strengthened when the CMB data are combined with measurements of the Hubble constant and the baryon acoustic oscillation feature. Notable improvements include ns = 0.9668 +/- 0.0093, r < 0.17 (95% CL), and Neff = 3.86 +/- 0.42. The SPT+WMAP data show...

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