There appears to have been a Big Bang era, which initiated the expansion
of the universe. This is supported, by many, because of the existance of the
background energy, called the Cosmic Microwave Background. That radiation is scattered photons that escaped after an opaque era. That era began when neutral atoms formed (called recombination, the first joining of electrons and protons; somewhat of a misnomer).
After recombination, there was a boundary to light; atoms were absorbing or blocking photons. It lasted until things cooled enough for the first breakout
of light, nearly 300,000 years after the BB. Slowly, there began an era
of reionization, and the universe became more transparent. New stars
and quasars released enough energy to clear the fog of atoms in gas,
Energized atoms, stripped of electrons, become ions, and allow light to pass, without being absorbed. Astronomers are able to detect across time
and space, from the footprints of light, back to the opaque era.
If you read what I mentioned on that, or have heard of it, you know that prior to the existance of matter, there were four seperate forces- strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravity. These gave rise to fields, then a hot soup of quarks, which then cooled. Ions eventually formed, at first helium, the most stable, then hydrogen. Further cooling led to neutral atoms, which allowed some photons to escape the arena. These are present, today, as microwaves.
This was the beginning of a new era, around 300,000 years after the BB.
Light was then free to travel. This energy has since cooled and stretched (redshifted) to become cold microwaves, just a little above absolute zero.
It is called the Cosmic Microwave Background.
NASA had two missions to study it, COBE and WMAP. COBE discovered not isotropic energy signatures (smooth, homogeneous distribution), but anisotropy. WMAP was sent up to look for the anisotropy.
WMAP is the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.
The microwave background was first noticed in the mid 1960s, by Bell Labs.
Then the COBE mission was launched in 1989, and WMAP in 2001.
The smooth, yet mixed, distribution of the CMB (cosmic microwave background) is seen clearer, in each study. The blue areas represents the coolest areas of microwaves.
5 frequency maps were taken, to eliminate contamination MW energy from
Milky Way. They are, L to R, 23GHZ K-band frequency, 33GHZ Ka-band,
41GHZ Q-band, 61GHZ V-band, and 95GHZ W-band.
With Milky Way microwave energy subtracted, revealing 380,000 years after BB.
Another mission will launch in 2007, by the ESA, called The Planck Observer.
It will get a finer resolution, to enhance the previous studies.
Pre-WMAP mission file from ESA. No mention of WMAP.
Planck Probe will complement other studies. One issue may be raised, though.
Will finer detail open the door for a new view on the shape of the universe?
The finite, round-type-universe theorists still may not be ruled out.
Some have exotic ideas about a geometry besides the flat-type-universe theory.
Just like the sun has harmonic acoustics, which are measurable, so did
the early universe. Those acoustic waves are mentioned in this next abstract. Some feel the discovery of very large waves, not seen by WMAP,
could imply a finite type, dodecahedral shape to the cosmos (twelve sided).
Planck Probe may tell us something about that.
Temperature fluxes in the earliest light, show the beginning of clumping, which
was gravity pulling matter together, condensing the first stars 200 million years later, then more stars, and finally, galaxies.
Edited by swj20, 25 February 2004 - 12:56 AM.