The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band which can be observed throughout the whole universe, not connected to any astronomical object. Its spectrum follows a very precise black-body radiation with a temperature of about 2.7 K.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

71
votes
5answers
5k views

What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero?

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero? I just do not see why our model must work the way ...
12
votes
2answers
971 views

What exactly is meant by the “Gaussianity” of CMBR?

What does it mean when we say that the CMBR is mostly gaussian? What are non-gaussianities in CMBR? How does evaluation of 3-point correlation functions of the inflaton field tells us that there is ...
12
votes
1answer
111 views

Spectrum of CMB vs. duration of last scattering

The epoch of last scattering took over 100,000 years. The Visibility Function has maximum at about 370,000 years after the Big Bang when the temperature was about 5,600 K. 50,000 years earlier the ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Why can we see the cosmic microwave background (CMB)?

I understand that we can never see much farther than the farthest galaxies we have observed. This is because, before the first galaxies formed, the universe was opaque--it was a soup of subatomic ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the CMB rest frame special? where does it come from?

It seems that we are moving relative to the universe at the speed of ~ 600 km/s. This is the speed of our galaxy relative to the cosmic microwave background. Where does this rest frame come from? Is ...
11
votes
2answers
388 views

Plotting the CMB power spectrum - Why $C_\ell \ell (\ell+1)$ rather than only $C_\ell$?

I can't find any convincing answer for the following question : Why do we always (or often) plot the CMB power spectrum in this way? I mean the y axis is $C_\ell \ell (\ell+1)$ and not only ...
10
votes
2answers
148 views

Why did the WMAP mission last so much longer than Planck?

NASA endorsed 9 years of data taken with the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). The High Frequency Instrument aboard the Planck satellite ran out of coolant at the start of 2012, after about ...
10
votes
1answer
159 views

What's the $\ell$ in the Bicep2 paper mean?

The BICEP experiment's recent announcement included the preprint of their paper, BICEP2 I: Detection of $B$-mode polarization at degree angular scales. BICEP2 Collaboration. To be submitted. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the cosmic “Axis of Evil” problem?

What is the cosmic "axis of evil" problem? Apparently it is a more modern version of the old cluster mass discrepancy problem, where masses determined by gravitational lensing are always higher than ...
10
votes
2answers
329 views

What will we see between the CMB and the current oldest object seen?

The cosmic background radiation (CMB) is estimated to be from 13.7 billion years ago (BYA), and very shortly after the big bang compared to that time frame. The oldest coherent objects we've detected ...
10
votes
4answers
464 views

strange modulation of radiactive decay rates with solar activity

Recently i found out this uber strange article about nuclear decay rates being somehow showing seasonal variations with a high correlation with sun activity. Two very precise questions: 1) has this ...
9
votes
2answers
195 views

How fast is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) changing?

I know that the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is the leftover radiation from the "surface of last scattering". However, at every instant the surface is changing (at the rate of flow ...
9
votes
1answer
616 views

What do the line segments on the BICEP2 B-mode polarization map mean?

The first image of BICEP2 visuals shows the "BICEP2 B-mode Signal", described as follows: Gravitational waves from inflation generate a faint but distinctive twisting pattern in the ...
9
votes
2answers
68 views

CMB curly B-modes and dark matter

I raised a question a while ago regarding weak gravitational lensing of galaxies and the CMB. With all the fuzz with the BICEP2 data, I think it is time to raise even more questions about this amazing ...
8
votes
3answers
370 views

Does Unruh Radiation replace the cosmic horizon radiation?

A recent paper, titled Inertia from an Asymmetric Casimir Effect, discusses the universal horizons relative to an accelerating observer (Rindler space). A figure it used to demonstrate its point ...
8
votes
1answer
163 views

$\Delta^+$ decay in GZK process

The dominant channels in the GZK process are $$p+\gamma_{\rm CMB}\to\Delta^+\to p+\pi^0,$$ $$p+\gamma_{\rm CMB}\to\Delta^+\to n+\pi^+.$$ According to the pdg, $\Delta\to N+\pi$ makes up essentially ...
8
votes
1answer
63 views

Why are no CMB experiments able to measure the whole range of multipole moments?

Have a look at the following diagram: This shows measurements of the CMB by various experiments, with multipole moment $l$ on the x-axis and the temperature of the corresponding moment on the ...
8
votes
2answers
145 views

What do the names “E mode” and “B mode” mean? Where do they come from?

This has been bugging me a bit since the BICEP announcement, but if there are any resources that answer my question in a simple way, they've been buried in a slew of over-technical or over-popularized ...
7
votes
3answers
292 views

Where does the light of the Big Bang come from?

I'm wondering whether the residual light of the Big Bang comes from one particular direction and what possibilities do we have to detect its position?
7
votes
3answers
368 views

Feedback on the paper, 'CCC-predicted low-variance circles in CMB sky and LCDM' by V. G. Gurzadyan and R. Penrose [closed]

Ref: CCC-predicted low-variance circles in CMB sky and LCDM To all cosmology / theoretical physics / related or similar researchers and academics, Are there some updates concerning the issue of ...
7
votes
2answers
273 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empirically privileged reference frame?

OK...before everyone blasts this with references to the relativistic invariance of the physical laws, time dilation, etc let me add some context. Also, I am an amateur with an interest in physics, so ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

What are the different ways to measure the spatial curvature of the universe?

Just what the question asks. Assuming the Friedmann-Rovertson-Walker (FRW) metric, what measurements can be performed to determine the spatial curvature of the universe.
7
votes
3answers
59 views

Cosmic background radiation vs superfluids

I've been reading a lot about superfluids lately (fluids that are cooled to such a degree that they no longer obey the standard laws of physics) in various physics journals and realized that the ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Where does CMB come/emit from?

Where exactly does CMB come from. I've seen it in documentaries as a huge sphere with Earth in the middle. But if all this radiation was ejected from the start of the universe some time after the big ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

Frequency of cosmic microwave background

Some people refer to cosmic microwave background's (CMB) frame of reference as an absolute one. If I understand correctly, we can measure 'absolute' velocity in this frame by using the Doppler effect. ...
6
votes
2answers
355 views

What's the significance of large-scale anomalies in CMB

What's the significance of large-scale anomalies in CMB that are confirmed by Planck? I've read somewhere that the cold spots can provide support for string theory or it may be due to a parallel ...
6
votes
2answers
100 views

When was the cosmic background radiation in the visible spectrum?

From what I understand about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is that it was from the big bang, and since space has streched and become bigger since then the wavelength of the CMBR has ...
6
votes
2answers
234 views

Does the Cosmic Microwave Background obey $\sigma T^4$?

The fact that the CMB has a temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin is well publicized, but I have a harder time finding a measure of the wattage per unit area. The Wikipedia article on the CMB is totally ...
6
votes
1answer
492 views

Inflation Scale via CMB Polarization

COBE, WMAP, and now PLANCK, have or are in the process of measuring anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. WMAP has dectected E-mode polarization from electron Thomson scattering, but not ...
6
votes
1answer
130 views

Causal structure of the inflationary multiverse

In the multiverse as it is described by eternal inflation, it is not clear to me what is its causal structure and in particular if the bubble-universes are causally connected. We start from a ...
5
votes
4answers
197 views

Why is there still radiation left from the Big Bang now? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why can we see the cosmic microwave background (CMB)? We all have seen evidence of radiation left from the Big Bang, but how is it still detectable? Why didn't it ...
5
votes
3answers
390 views

Do oceans produce the cosmic microwave background?

A guy who has a career in medical physics named Pierre-Marie Robitaille argues in two recently published papers in “Progress in Physics”, that the CMB is not from the big bang but from the oceans. ...
5
votes
1answer
68 views

Relationship between the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation and the visible universe

I know that the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) is the leftover radiation from the Big Bang. Have we been able to make a concrete map of the radiation and the objects in the visible ...
5
votes
2answers
364 views

What experiments compete with BICEP 2, and when are their results expected?

The recent results of the BICEP 2 experiment published on March 17th 2014, has generated a lot of media attention, with the general consensus being that "this is a major discovery" perhaps leading to ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

What Did Nobelaureate Smoot Mean by “Modern Efforts to Find Violations of Special Relativity”

In George Smoot's 2006 Nobel Lecture, having won the Nobel prize for his research on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), he refers to the possibility of the CMB being a special frame stating ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

Where is radiation density in the Planck 2013 results?

I've been looking at the Planck 2013 cosmological parameters paper, trying to update my toy cosmology simulator with the most recent data. Most of the interesting values such as $H_0$, $\Omega_m$, ...
5
votes
3answers
222 views

How/why can the cosmic background radiation measurements tell us anything about the curvature of the universe?

So I've read the Wikipedia articles on WMAP and CMB in an attempt to try to understand how scientists are able to deduce the curvature of the universe from the measurements of the CMB. The Wiki ...
5
votes
1answer
220 views

Is the number of wavelengths of light spanning a distance invariant with respect to spacetime distortion?

I was recently asked by a friend how the expansion of spacetime affects photons. I gave him what I feel is a satisfactory general response, but it got me wondering how, exactly to calculate this ...
5
votes
1answer
42 views

The initial conditions of the CMB spectrum

The CMB spectrum shows the intensity of fluctuation at a certain angular scale: The achievement is the correspondence between the predicted power spectrum and the observed one. My question is as ...
5
votes
1answer
249 views

What do the BICEP2 results mean for string gas cosmology and the ekpyrotic universe?

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole and released ...
5
votes
1answer
474 views

How the CMB anisotropy is linked to the existence of cold dark matter and dark energy?

After the data from the cosmic microwave background has been collected by WMAP or Planck, what types of analysis is needed to conduct in order to deduce the cold dark matter density and the ...
4
votes
3answers
469 views

Why cosmic background radiation is not ether?

why cosmic background radiation is not ether? I mean it's everywhere and it' a radiation then we can measure Doppler effect by moving with a velocity.
4
votes
4answers
360 views

Which gets you first when you are falling into a black hole, the black hole singularity or the cosmic background radiation?

If you look up while you are falling into a black hole you see the universe blue shifted, that is, you see the universe moving quickly forward in time compared to your local time. Since this effect ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

How does the Cosmic Microwave Background give us information about the Big Bang?

I was reading about CMB after this new breakthrough last week and I could not figure this out. The CMB did not exist before the epoch of Last Scattering. They were just photons which were formed at ...
4
votes
2answers
495 views

Recent Planck probe results: how unexpected?

The data from the Planck probe's observations are in, and according to the European Space Agency they show a "hemispheric asymmetry in the cosmic microwave background (CMB)". Quote: an asymmetry ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

Correlation between large-scale galaxy structure and CMB fluctuations?

During a relatively non-technical astronomy seminar the other day, the speaker displayed the famous WMAP full-sky image as an aid to describing what the CMB is, the scale of its fluctuations, etc. ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

why does the CMB change so slowly

If anisotropies of the CMB originated from "quantum fluctuations of matter in a very tiny space that expanded to the size of the observable universe we see today" (quote from Wikipedia) would they ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

Cosmological triangle with PLANCK results

Is there an updated version of the cosmological triangle with recent PLANCK results included?
4
votes
1answer
444 views

Inflation and scalar spectral index

I've been reading that the results from the Planck satellite constrain a number called the "scalar spectral index" to be 0.96 rather than 1 at the 5-sigma level. This is supposed to be big news, but ...