Detection likelihood of cluster-induced CMB polarization

M. Mirmelstein*, M. Shimon, Y. Rephaeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nearby galaxy clusters can potentially induce sub-microkelvin polarization signals in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at characteristic scales of a few arcminutes. We explore four such polarization signals induced in a rich nearby fiducial cluster and calculate the likelihood of their detection by a telescope project with capabilities such as those of the Simons Observatory (SO). In our feasibility analysis, we include instrumental noise, primordial CMB anisotropy, statistical thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) cluster signal, and point source confusion, assuming a few percent of the nominal telescope observation time of an SO-like project. Our analysis indicates that the thermal SZ intensity can be sensitively mapped in rich nearby clusters and that the kinematic SZ intensity can be measured with high statistical significance toward a fast moving nearby cluster. The detection of polarized SZ signals will be quite challenging but could still be feasible toward several very rich nearby clusters with very high SZ intensity. The polarized SZ signal from a sample of ∼20 clusters can be statistically detected at S/N ∼ 3, if observed for several months.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA36
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


FundersFunder number
Joan and Irwin Jacobs donor-advised fund at the Jewish Community Foundation
U.S. Department of EnergyDE-AC02-05CH11231
Seventh Framework ProgrammeFP/2007-2013
European Research Council616170
Israel Science Foundation


    • Cosmic background radiation
    • Galaxies: clusters: general
    • Polarization


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