Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Word of the Day -- Cosmic Background Radiation

Cosmic background radiation is electromagnetic radiation from the sky with no discernible source. The origin of this radiation depends on the region of the spectrum that is observed. One component is the cosmic microwave background radiation. This component is redshifted photons that have freely streamed from an epoch when the Universe became transparent for the first time to radiation. Its discovery and detailed observations of its properties are considered one of the major confirmations of the Big Bang. The discovery (by chance in 1965) of the cosmic background radiation suggests that the early universe was dominated by a radiation field, a field of extremely high temperature and pressure.

Temperature of the cosmic background radiation spectrum as determined with the COBE satellite: uncorrected (top), corrected for the dipole term due to our peculiar velocity (middle), and corrected for contributions from the dipole term and from our galaxy (bottom).

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