Sunday, April 10, 2022

Unlocking Cosmic Mysteries: Understanding COBE Satellite Data

5:44 PM | ,

Map of the direction of movement of light in microwave

The vibrant colors displayed in the image above are a segment of an extensive celestial map, generated by the notable COBE satellite, or "Cosmic Background Explorer", back in 1993. This comprehensive map reveals the movement trajectory of microwave radiation across the sky. 

To fully comprehend this, it's important to visualize the Earth's journey around the Sun, with the Sun itself orbiting the center of the Milky Way. Subsequently, our galaxy is nestled within the trajectory of the Local Group of Galaxies. 

However, it's noteworthy that the cumulative speeds of these celestial bodies, even when combined, don't compare to the speed of the cosmic microwave background, also known as "CMBR". This phenomenon, nestled between the infrared and radio segments of the electromagnetic spectrum, pervades the universe, irrespective of our gaze's direction. It's noteworthy that the CMBR isn't a byproduct of neighboring stars or galaxies.

In the depicted image, the microwave light, appearing blue-shifted, signifies a higher temperature due to Earth's movement. In contrast, microwave light at the sky's opposite end appears red-shifted, indicating a cooler temperature. 

Apart from temperature variations, the map also suggests the Local Group's speed, approximately 600 km/s in relation to the primordial radiation. This astounding speed initially took astronomers aback, who are yet to fully understand the underlying reasons for this cosmic velocity.

Map of the direction of movement of light in microwaves (Image: Reproduction/DMR, COBE, NASA, Four-Year Sky Map)

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