A Flat Universe from High-Resolution Maps of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

10.1038/35010035

The blackbody radiation left over from the Big Bang has been transformed by the expansion of the Universe into the nearly isotropic 2.73K Cosmic Microwave Background. Tiny inhomogeneities in the early Universe left their imprint on the microwave background in the form of small anisotropies in its temperature. These anisotropies contain information about basic cosmological parameters, particularly the total energy density and curvature of the universe. Here we report the first images of resolved structure in the microwave background anisotropies over a significant part of the sky. Maps at four frequencies clearly distinguish the microwave background from foreground emission. We compute the angular power spectrum of the microwave background, and find a peak at Legendre multipole $\ell_{peak}=(197 \pm 6)$, with an amplitude $DT_{200}=(69 \pm 8)\mu K$. This is consistent with that expected for cold dark matter models in a flat (euclidean) Universe, as favoured by standard inflationary scenarios.

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