Over the last 20 years measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have produced an explosion of knowledge about the birth and evolution of our Universe. Over the next decade new, even more precise, measurements will provide the next crucial steps in understanding the Universe. The 6 m diameter Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) was designed and built specifically to make these advances possible. Using existing and new technology, the ACT team is working to produce groundbreaking results that will enable and complement a host of other research.
Measurements of the CMB are at the foundation of the standard cosmological model and are the cleanest probe of the physics of the nascent Universe. ACT’s impact will range over topics from the physics of the birth of the Universe to the history of cosmic structure formation. Its detailed temperature and polarization maps combined with measurements of the mass and distribution of clusters of galaxies will track the evolution of dark energy, measure the spatial curvature, and may discover the net neutrino mass.