23. Other Constraints: The Cosmic Microwave Background

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Frontiers/Controversies in Astrophysics (ASTR 160)

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.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Implications of Research on Supernovae
05:28 - Chapter 2. The Cosmic Microwave Background
11:27 - Chapter 3. COBE and WMAP: Measuring CMB
24:40 - Chapter 4. Growth of Universe Structure: Large-Scale Clustering
39:30 - Chapter 5. The Degree of Clustering and the Potential Fates of the Universe

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2007.