COBE: New Sky Maps of the Early Universe
This paper presents early results obtained from the first six months of measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by instruments aboard NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)* satellite and discusses the implications for cosmology. The three instruments: FIRAS, DMR, and DIRBE have operated well and produced significant new results. The FIRAS measurement of the CMB spectrum supports the standard Big Bang nucleosynthesis model. The maps made from the DMR instrument measurements show a surprisingly smooth early universe. The measurements are sufficiently precise that we must pay careful attention to potential systematic errors. The maps of galactic and local emission produced by the DIRBE instrument will be needed to identify foregrounds from extragalactic emission and thus to interpret the results in terms of events in the early universe.
KeywordsCosmic Microwave Background Early Universe Cosmic String Peculiar Velocity Interplanetary Dust
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