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Observing the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation: A Unique Window on the Early UniverseThe cosmic microwave background radiation is the remnant heat from the Big Bang. It provides us with a unique probe of conditions in the early universe, long before any organized structures had yet formed. The anisotropy in the radiation's brightness yields important clues about primordial structure and additionally provides a wealth of information about the physics,of the early universe. Within the framework of inflationary dark matter models observations of the anisotropy on sub-degree angular scales will reveal the signatures of acoustic oscillations of the photon-baryon fluid at a redshift of approx. 1100. The validity of inflationary models will be tested and, if agreement is found, accurate values for most of the key cosmological parameters will result. If disagreement is found, we will need to rethink our basic ideas about the physics of the early universe. I will present an overview of the physical processes at work in forming the anisotropy and discuss what we have already learned from current observations. I will conclude with a brief overview of the recently launched Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) mission which will observe the anisotropy over the full sky with 0.21 degree angular resolution. At the time of this meeting, MAP will have just arrived at the L2 Lagrange point, marking the start of its observing campaign. The MAP hardware is being produced by Goddard in partnership with Princeton University.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hinshaw, Gary (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Fisher, Richard R.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Space Radiation
Meeting Information
AAS 199th Conference(Washington, DC)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.