More Proof that the Universe is Flat

By Keith Cowing
May 9, 2000
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MAXIMA map of cosmic background radiation
Astrophysicists at UC Berkeley have used the Millimeter Anisotropy eXperiment IMaging Array (MAXIMA) to reveal the structure of the universe in its infancy. According to a press release, “the first results from a balloon-borne experiment peering back to a time shortly after the big bang provide confirmation of a mysterious “dark matter” and “dark energy” that make up most of the cosmos.”

The MAXIMA findings build upon the research published just last month by researchers who utilized the Balloon Observations Of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics (BOOMERANG) experiment which also provided data that shows our universe to be flat. Both experiments, in turn, built upon data collected in 1992 by COBE, the Cosmic Background Explorer.

According to the press release, “the MAXIMA map is the highest resolution map of the cosmic microwave background yet published … these results provide strong evidence that the universe is flat.” Both MAXIMA and BOOMERANG measured the temperature variations of the cosmic microwave background and produced thermal maps of the universe just 300,000 years after the big bang occurred. Both experiments revealed hot and cold spots with a size range of approximately one degree across. According to current theory, this would be indicative of a flat universe.

The results of the MAXIMA research have been submitted for publication to Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Related links:

° MAXIMA, a balloon-borne experiment directed by UC Berkeley, finds evidence for a flat universe, inflation and a cosmological constant, UC Berkely press release

° MAXIMA-1: A Measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropy on
angular scales of 10 arcminutes to 5 degrees
, Astrophysical Journal Letters (Abstract)

° Constraints on Cosmological Parameters from MAXIMA-1, Astrophysical Journal Letters (Abstract)

° The Universe is Flat, SpaceRef

° Universe proven flat, BBC

° A flat Universe from high-resolution maps of the cosmic microwave
background radiation
, Nature

° Spider-web Sensor Reveals a Flat Universe, NASA JPL

° BOOMERanG Balloon Flight Sees A Flat Universe Filled With Dark Energy, press release, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

° Cosmologists Reveal First Detailed Images of Early Universe, NASA/NSF press release

° COBE, Cosmic Background Explorer, NASA GSFC

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