Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

February 7, 1998

COBE Hotspots: The Oldest Structures Known
Credit: DMR, COBE, NASA, Two-Year Sky Map


這是整個天空的微波分布圖。 而我們銀河系的盤面水平地穿過其中心。 這張歷史性的全天圖,植基於美國航太總署的宇宙背景探測衛星(COBE)運轉頭2年的數據。 通過電腦處理以去除附近物體的貢獻和地球運動的影響之後,此圖以紅色“斑點”顯示早期宇宙裡的溫度變化。 這些斑點是已知的最古老、最遙遠的宇宙結構。 隨著宇宙的擴張和冷卻,聚集形成了物質的。 COBE的全天圖證實,在大約150億年前的大爆炸後僅僅一百萬年,宇宙的某些部分明顯比其他部分熱。 透過研究COBE圖的斑點之大小和分布及和其他未來任務的成果,天文學家希望能了解是什麼物質和過程導致斑點形成,並從而找出巷我們宇宙的組成、密度和未來。

Above is a microwave image of the entire sky. The plane of our galaxy runs horizontally through the center. This historic all-sky map is based on the first two years of data from NASA's COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. After computer processing to remove contributions from nearby objects and the effects of the earth's motion, the map shows temperature variations in the early Universe as red "spots". These spots are the oldest, most distant structures known. As our Universe expanded and cooled, conglomerations of mass formed. The COBE images confirm that only a million years after the big-bang - which occurred roughly 15 billion years ago - parts of the universe were visibly hotter than other parts. By studying the size and distribution of the spots found with COBE and future missions, astronomers hope to learn what matter and processes caused the spots to form - and hence determine the composition, density, and future of our Universe.

Tomorrow's picture: M1: Filaments of the Crab Nebula

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.