The cosmic microwave background (CMB), the "afterglow of creation," is a spectrum of 2.75K radiation. Small variations in the temperature at different directions on the sky give us clues to the large scale distribution of matter in the universe, spanning nearly 14 billion years of cosmic history. Small distortions of the spectrum -- departures from a perfect blackbody -- give deeper clues. We are currently using these spectral distortions in fundamental tests of cosmology, to probe theories of dark energy and dark matter. These theories may be put to the test in the near future by a satellite telescope dedicated to measuring the CMB spectrum.
FACULTY CONTACT: Robert Caldwell