epoch of thermalization
Fr.: époque de thermalisation
The period during the → early Universe before the → recombination era when the photons were hot enough to ionize hydrogen. The density was so high that the interactions between → matter and → radiation were very numerous. Therefore, matter and photons were in constant contact and their → temperatures were the same. As a result, the radiation became → thermalized, i.e. the → electromagnetic spectrum of the radiation became that of a → blackbody, a process called → thermalization. Since the time of recombination the photons of → cosmic background radiation have been free to travel uninhibited by interactions with matter. Thus, their distribution of energy is a perfect → blackbody curve, as predicted by the → Big Bang theory and shown by several observations, such as → Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), → Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), and → Planck Satellite.