Upcoming cosmic microwave background (CMB) surveys will soon make the first detection of the polarized Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, the linear polarization generated by the scattering of CMB photons on the free electrons present in collapsed objects. Measurement of this polarization along with knowledge of the electron density of the objects allows a determination of the quadrupolar temperature anisotropy of the CMB as viewed from the space-time location of the objects. Maps of these remote temperature quadrupoles have several cosmological applications. Here we propose a new application: the reconstruction of the cosmological reionization history. We show that with quadrupole measurements out to redshift 3, constraints on the mean optical depth can be improved by an order of magnitude beyond the CMB cosmic variance limit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)