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The Microwave Sky from WMAP Mission
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The Microwave Sky from WMAP Mission

April 4, 2003
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) team has made the first detailed full-sky map of the oldest light in the universe. It is a "baby picture" of the universe. Colors indicate "warmer" (red) and "cooler" (blue) spots. The oval shape is a projection to display the whole sky; similar to the way the globe of the earth can be projected as an oval. The microwave light captured in this picture is from 380,000 years after the Big Bang, over 13 billion years ago: the equivalent of taking a picture of an 80 year old person on the day of their birth. The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the radiant heat left over from the Big Bang. The WMAP Mission will likely point astrophysicists towards newer and deeper questions about the nature of our universe.


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