Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)
puyešgar-e zamin-ye keyhâni
Fr.: Satellite COBE
NASA's satellite, designed to measure the diffuse infrared and → cosmic microwave background radiation from the early → Universe. It was launched on November 18, 1989 and carried three instruments: DIRBE (the Diffuse InfraRed Experiment), DMR (Differential Microwave Radiometers), and FIRAS (Far-InfraRed Absolute Spectrophotometer). The COBE observations showed that the cosmic microwave background spectrum matches that of a → blackbody of temperature 2.725 ± 0.002 K. COBE also found anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background at a level of a part in 100,000 (→ cosmic microwave background anisotropy). These tiny variations in the intensity of the CMB over the sky show how matter and energy was distributed when the Universe was still very young. Later, through a process still poorly understood, the early structures developed into galaxies, galaxy clusters, and the large scale structure that we see in the Universe today. Two of COBE's principal investigators, George Smoot and John Mather, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for their work on the project.