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.

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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? ...
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How can interstellar space have a temperature of 2-3K?

Several different sources online state that the average temperature of interstellar space (or the universe in general) is around 2-3K. I learned that temperature is basically the wiggling of matter, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What is meant by the temperature of the CMB?

This is what I commonly read: The CMB came to existence when atoms where formed and photons weren't constantly absorbed anymore. In other words, the universe became "transparent". Because of the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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The status of the BICEP2 'discovery' after Planck 2014

The tumultous period after the original announcement that the BICEP2 experiment had supposedly detected strong evidence of cosmological inflation in the form of B-mode polarization in the cosmic ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Could I see the cosmic microwave background if it were Doppler shifted enough?

If I traveled fast enough, my current understanding is that visible light would be blueshifted to the blue/UV range, but also that microwaves and longer wavelength waves would be blueshifted into the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Will the CMB ever stop shining?

Will we ever reach a point where all the light that was set free by recombination finally reaches us from our point of view and the CMB stops "shining" for observers on Earth?
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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 ...
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$\Delta^+$ 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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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.
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Seeing beyond the CMBR with neutrinos?

As I understand it, you can't see beyond the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation because the plasma of the early universe was opaque to electromagnetic radiation. What if you had a "neutrino ...
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What did recombination look like?

I recently remembered that someone worked out what the big bang sounded like and that got me thinking... About 377,000 years after the Big Bang, electrons became bound to nuclei to form neutral ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Angular Power Spectrum of CMB

I was wondering, if anyone could guide me through the different peaks of this spectrum (See below)? I've been reading and reading numerous pages about this, but I can't seem to get my head around ...
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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 ...
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Why is there a line in the middle of the Planck full sky map?

Why there is a straight line (or perhaps a flat surface) in the middle of the Planck full sky map? and zoom (it makes it seem that the big bang was a collision between two unknown surfaces)
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 $H_0$, $\Omega_m$, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Would the presence of B-modes in the CMB provide evidence for quantum gravity?

Finding B-modes in the CMB (which aren't due to foreground contamination) would be evidence for gravitational waves, because they cannot be produced by density perturbations (to first order, is my ...