Cosmic Microwave Background

Cosmic Microwave Background

 

Discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) can be thought of as the remnant glow of the Big Bang in which our Universe was created. Astronomers have studied the CMB, looking for tiny patterns in the glow that suggest variation in density in the early Universe that might explain the formation of the first galaxies. Here data from three space mission are shown mapped onto globes - imagine yourself at the centre of each globe looking outward toward the sky above you. The data are from NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) from 1989 at left, NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) from 2001 in the middle and the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft launched in 2009 at right.

Image © Carlos Clarivan, with data courtesy NASA and ESA

 

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