Detection of Relic Gravitational Waves and Rotation of the Universe by Direct Angular Measurements at 1 Microarcsecond
Valeri Makarov (Michelson Science Center, Caltech)
The origin of the Universe and the circumstances of its initial evolution are imprinted in the pattern of the motion of very distant quasars and the metric of spacetime on cosmological scales. In particular, the theoretically postulated relic gravitational waves from the Big Bang epoch cause the light rays from distant quasars to bend in a systematic, predictable pattern, which is measurable at the microarcsecond level as a global field of angular velocities. Dynamical perturbations at the epoch of reionization can lead to differential vorticity fields of observable matter, which are detected as second- and higher order magnetic vector harmonics of the global velocity field. A concept of a dedicated astrometric (or rather, cosmometric) telescope is presented deemed capable of taking measurements of relatively faint (17 - 18 mag) optical sources in a global grid to the required accuracy. The astrophysical agenda for his facility is rich besides the primary goals, including such topics as direct measurement of the gravitational potential of dark matter in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies haloes, internal kinematics of globular clusters, the search for a dark companion to the Sun (the Nemesis problem), and detection of planets orbiting dim stars.