The conference dinner here is about to start (has already started), so I don't have time for a proper post. However, there were some very interesting rumours/revelations today so I'll write them down super-quickly. In increasing order of potential interest (note this post might be a bit technical, I'll explain all of this before the end of the weekend):
The feature at l=1700
A senior Planck figure gave a talk today on the features in the Planck angular power spectrum. Much of his talk was devoted to the apparent feature at \(l\simeq 1700\). In the 15 months worth of data that Planck has used to generate the cosmological results shown in their released papers, the statistical significance of this feature (when any feature is looked for) was \(\sim 3\sigma\). This was with a look elsewhere effect that took into account the possibility of the feature occurring at another \(l\) value.
What he let slip was that, when they analyse this same feature with the full temperature data set, the significance of the feature drops to \(\sim 2\sigma\).
Of course, not too much should be read into this because the additional data isn't quite as well understood as that first 15 months; however, its the same telescope looking at the same sky and foregrounds, so there shouldn't be too many complications. Note that this feature is out of the resolution range of Planck's polarisation capabilities, so the new temperature data is the only additional data we will get in the next data release.
Planck's data analysed on the SPT sky
One of the curiosities of the Planck release was that it seems to give cosmological results that are slightly discrepant with what the South Pole Telescope was giving. If Planck disagrees with BAO or supernovae, or galaxy clusters this is all interesting, but potentially the result of Planck and/or one of those other analyses getting it wrong. However, SPT is another CMB experiment, the fact that Planck and SPT are a bit discrepant is very confusing.
Perhaps SPT made a mistake and the CMB they measured is not the correct CMB?
The obvious way to test this is to analyse the Planck data on the same part of the sky that SPT measured. I overheard a conversation between lead figures in Planck, WMAP and SPT and it seems this is exactly what SPT have done (in unpublished work).
The result is striking.
They found a cosmology that agrees with SPT.
If true, this means that it isn't just Planck and SPT that are slightly discrepant, but different regions of Planck's sky.
What this means cosmologically is unsure. I'll speculate a bit tomorrow.
There was quite a bit of excitement over a plot that showed power asymmetry in different directions of the sky. I was going to write about it, but upon reflection, the excitement seems confusing. I'll try to explain the excitement and background before the end of the week.
[The final summary is now available here]