Big news afoot. First the backstory...
WMAP, for the non-experts in the room, is the satellite currently making precision measurements of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. The first year's worth of data made all kinds of waves, including proving that the Universe is geometrically flat, and giving a pretty good estimate of its age. About two years ago, one started to hear grumbling at cosmology conferences about the whereabouts of the WMAP second year results. At this point it's practically devolved into a running joke, although with a serious undercurrent. Rumors have been swirling for ages about how the data release was held up due to some difficulty with polarization measurements, which is exactly what the current CMB mission race (of which my group is a part) is all about.
Of late the rumors have really been churning, since lots of WMAP scientists have been giving talks recently, and some have hinted that the data could surface sometime soon. Now it's official. There's an email going around from the WMAP team at Goddard.
The WMAP second data release will occur at noon EST, Thursday March 16!
First impressions: One, they mention that there will be no televised media accompanying the release. This suggests that we can stop sweating the possibility that they were going to trump us all and get a strong polarization detection. Two, I wonder if the release date was ever the 15th, and got pushed back because someone at GSFC remembers Caesar. Three, it's no longer called the second-year release, just the second release; sounds like there will be more recent data thrown in as well.
Watch this space.