Lecture: Other Constraints: The Cosmic Microwave Background

Charles Bailyn - Yale

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Lecture Description

Reasons for the expansion of the universe are addressed at the start of this lecture, focusing especially on the acceleration of dark energy. Supernovae were the first evidence for the existence of dark energy. Two other proofs are presented. The first is the Cosmic Microwave Background, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is perfectly smooth and equal in all directions. It firmly supports the Big Bang theory. Projects attempting to measure it, such as COBE and WMAP, are discussed. Secondly, Large Scale Clustering is introduced: by measuring the degree of clustering, astronomers hope to advance their understanding of dark energy and dark matter. Computer simulations of the evolution of the universe are shown.

Course Description

This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.

from course: Introduction to Astrophysics


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