An absolute measurement of the cosmic microwave background radiation temperature at 10.7 GHz

S. T. Staggs, N. C. Jarosik, S. S. Meyer, D. T. Wilkinson

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19 Scopus citations


A balloon-borne experiment has measured the absolute temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) at 10.7 GHz to be TCMBR = 2.730 ± 0.014 K. The error is the quadratic sum of several systematic errors, with a statistical error of less than 0.1 mK. The instrument is made up of a cooled corrugated horn antenna coupled to a total power radiometer. A cryogenic mechanical waveguide switch alternately connects the radiometer to the horn and to an internal reference load. The small measured temperature difference (≲20 mK) between the sky signal and the reference load in conjunction with the use of a cold front end keeps systematic instrumental corrections small. Atmospheric and window emission are minimized by flying the instrument at 24 km altitude. A large outer ground screen and smalier inner screen shield the instrument from stray radiation from the ground and the balloon. In-flight tests constrain the magnitude of ground radiation contamination, and low-level interference is monitored through observations in several narrow-frequency bands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1-L4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmic background radiation
  • Cosmology: observations


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