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MADmap mapping the universe

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The MADmap code produces sky maps from the kind of data produced by cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments like the Planck satellite (center). European Space Agency Photo.

WASHINGTON (BNS): Universe mapping is a crucial study and mapping the cosmic microwave backgrround (CMB) depend on measuring minute differences in the temperature of the sky.

Berkeley Lab scientists thus developed a code called Microwave Anisotropy Dataset Computational Analysis Package, or MADCAP for CMB experiments.

According to a news report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, mapping the CMB requires accurately accounting for noise in the data.

The MADmap code produces sky maps from the kind of data produced by cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments.

"To make a map it takes a special code to weigh and account for the noise in each pixel at each point in time," says astrophysicist Julian Borrill, now with the Computational Cosmology Center (C3) in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division,” according to the report.

The detectors used to measure the temperature of the cosmic microwave background works well on any time-ordered data set with “colored” noise, so the MADCAP bundle of codes included one specially designed to make maps from data where the noise is not white.

"Although MADmap was designed with CMB data in mind, “it was always intended to be independent of the specifics of any one experiment," added Borril.

MADmap has been used for CMB experiments from the balloon-borne MAXIMA, which mapped a portion of the northern sky in 1998, and BOOMERANG, which circled the South Pole in 1999, on up to the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, launched on an Ariane rocket from French Guiana in May 2009; all these experiments and others record data in different formats, so MADmap’s flexibility is essential, as per Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

MADmap has been highly significant in the Herschel infrared observatory. MADmap was used as the core as the core map-making software for the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) in Herschel.

At present the research team y format for Herschel that will be able to handle various kinds of data. MADmap 2 readily reads data in different formats and would be easier to use and more flexible that the present version.

MADmap, from its onset, has been posted on the Internet as open-source software.

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