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.