cosmic microwave background anisotropy
nâhamsângardi-ye tâbeš-e rizmowj-e paszaminé-ye keyhâni
Fr.: anisotropies du rayonnement du fond cosmique microonde
Tiny fluctuations in the intensity of the → cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) as a function of angular position over the sky, first discovered in the → Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) observations. At a level of 1 part in 100,000, these temperature variations trace the distribution of matter and energy when the Universe was very young, about 380,000 years old. Since the CMB spectrum is described to a high precision by a → blackbody law with temperature T0, it is usual to express the anisotropies in terms of temperature fluctuations ΔT/T0 and expand them on the sky in → spherical harmonic series ΔT/T0 (θ,φ) = Σ almYlm(θ,φ), where θ and φ are the → spherical polar coordinates, Ylm is the spherical harmonic functions with → multipole index l, and the sum runs over l = 1, 2, ..., ∞, m = -l, ..., l, giving 2l + 1 values of m for each l, and alm is the multipole moment of the decomposition. The power spectrum of the anisotropies is defined as Cl≡ mean | alm |2 = 1/(2l + 1) Σ mean | alm |2. See also → CMB angular power spectrum.
cosmic microwave background polarization
qotbeš-e zamine-ye rizmowj-e keyhâni
Fr.: polarisation du rayonnement du fond cosmique microonde
The polarization of the → cosmic microwave background radiation due to → Thomson scattering by → free electrons during the → recombination era. The polarization can greatly enhance the precision with which the parameters associated with → acoustic oscillations are derived; because it carries directional information on the sky. When an → electromagnetic wave is incident on a free electron, the scattered wave is polarized perpendicular to the incidence direction. If the incident radiation were → isotropic or had only a → dipole variation, the scattered radiation would have no net polarization. However, if the incident radiation from perpendicular directions (separated by 90°) had different intensities, a net → linear polarization would result. Such → anisotropy is called → quadrupole because the poles of anisotropy are 360°/4 = 90° apart.
cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR)
tâbeš-e rizmowj-e paszaminé-ye keyhâni
Fr.: rayonnement du fond cosmique microonde
The diffuse → electromagnetic radiation in the → microwave band, coming from all directions in the sky, which consists of relic photons left over from the very hot, early phase of the → Big Bang. More specifically, the CMBR belong to the → recombination era, when the → Universe was about 380,000 years old and had a temperature of about 3,000 K, or a → redshift of about 1,100. The photons that last scattered at this epoch have now cooled down to a temperature of 2.73 K. They have a pure → blackbody spectrum as they were at → thermal equilibrium before → decoupling. The CMB was discovered serendipitously in 1965 by Penzias and Wilson (ApJ L 142, 419) and was immediately interpreted as a relic radiation of the Big Bang by Dicke et al. (1965, ApJL 142, 383). Such a radiation had been predicted before by Gamow (1948, Nature 162, 680) and by Alpher and Herman (1948, Nature 162, 774). This discovery was a major argument in favor of the Big Bang theory. In 1992, the satellite → Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) discovered the first anisotropies in the temperature of the CMB with an amplitude of about 30 µK. See also: → cosmic microwave background anisotropy, → dipole anisotropy, → CMB lensing, → CMB angular power spectrum, → acoustic peak, → baryon acoustic oscillation, → WMAP.
Electromagnetic radiation having wavelengths in the 1 to 300 mm range.
microwave background radiation
tâbeš-e paszamine-ye rizmowj
Fr.: rayonnement micro-onde du fond cosmique
Thermal radiation with a temperature of 2.73 K that is apparently uniformly distributed in the Universe. It is believed to be a redshifted remnant of the hot radiation that was in thermal equilibrium with matter during the first hundred thousand years after the Big Bang. Same as → cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.
tâbeš-e rizmowj (#)
Fr.: rayonnement micro-onde
Electromagnetic radiation carried by → microwaves.
Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
A space telescope launched by NASA in 2001 which measures the temperature fluctuations in the → cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. It creates a full-sky map of the CMB, with a 13 arcminute resolution via multi-frequency observations. WMAP is the first mission to use a → Lagrangian point L2 as its permanent observing station at a distance of 1.5 million km. WMAP completed its prime two years of mission operations in September 2003 and is continuing in 2009 its observations for still several years to come. WMAP's measurements have played a considerable role in establishing the current standard model of cosmology. They are consistent with a Universe that is dominated by → dark energy, with negative pressure or a → cosmological constant. In this model, the age of the Universe is 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years. The current expansion rate of the Universe measured by the Hubble constant, is 70.5 ± 1.3 km·s-1 Mpc-1. The content of the Universe consists of 4.56% ± 0.15% ordinary → baryonic matter, 22.8% ± 1.3% → cold dark matter, and 72.6% ± 1.5% of → dark energy, that accelerates the → expansion of the Universe.
WMAP, short for Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, in honor of David Todd Wilkinson (1935-2002), who had been a member of the mission's science team.