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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Measuring α in the Early Universe

G. Rocha

We update the bounds on a time-varying fine structure constant alpha at the time of BBN (z~1010) and CMB (z~103) and present the current CMB constraints on α, through a combined analysis of the BOOMERanG, MAXIMA and DASI datasets. We also present a discussion of the constraints on α coming from large-scale structure observations, focusing in particular on the power spectrum from the 2dF survey. Finally we provide a analysis of the degeneracies between α and the other cosmological parameters and discuss ways to break these with both existing and/or forthcoming data. Our results are consistent with no variation in α from the epoch of recombination to the present day, and restrict any such variation to be less than about 4%. We show that the forthcoming MAP and Planck experiments will be able to break most of the currently existing degeneracies between α and other parameters, and measure α to better than percent accuracy.

Astrophysics and Space Science
Volume 283, Page 589
March 2003

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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