Detail View: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Collection: BOOMERANG MAP OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND

Title: 
BOOMERANG MAP OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND
Creator: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Description: 
This image is the first highly detailed "snapshot" or "map" of the cosmic microwave background, which provides a snapshot of the universe when the radiation formed about 300,000 years after the Big Bang. At this time, regions with a higher density of matter and energy left a record in the background radiation. The minute temperature fluctuations in this map trace the interaction of photons and matter. The characteristic structures serve as a "thumbprint" that tells us about the nature, composition, and relative abundance of all forms of matter and energy in the universe. The pattern shown is consistent with an inflationary theory of cosmic development, which proposes that the universe went through a period of extreme, exponential inflation in the first moments after the Big Bang. This theory further predicts a flat geometry for the universe, because the immense stretching of space during inflation would have removed any initially strong curvature in the smaller and denser early universe. This map was obtained by internationally sponsored BOOMERANG (Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics) balloon experiment, which flew 36 km. (23 mi.) above the atmosphere in Antarctica, December, 1998. Created at JPL's Microdevices Laboratory, a highly sensitive, micromesh bolometer was a critical component in creating the map. The spiderweb- shaped bolometer measured minute temperature variations of only 100-millionths of a degree (0.0001 C) in the cosmic microwave background. In this image, areas with slightly higher temperatures show up as red. In those areas, the density of matter and energy is higher. Bluer, colder areas are less dense. The BOOMERANG Project was led by Dr. Andrew Lange of the California Institute of Technology and by Dr. Paolo DeBernardis of the University of Rome La Sapienza. Primary funding for BOOMERANG was provided by the NSF and NASA in the United States, the Italian Space Agency, the Italian Antarctic Research Programme and the University of Rome La Sapienza in Italy; and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council in the United Kingdom. The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Supercomputing Center provided high-level computer analysis of the dataset. The Microdevices Laboratory is a state-of-the-art research and technology-development facility in the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology (CSMT) at JPL. Funding for the bolometer came from JPL's Technology and Applications Programs (TAP) Directorate. JPL is managed by the California Institute of Technology on behalf of NASA. #####
MediaType: 
Image
Contributor: 
JPL Archives
What: 
Snapshot
What: 
TRACE
Where: 
California
Where: 
Rome
Where: 
United Kingdom
Where: 
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)