The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) mapped the distribution of temperature and polarization over the entire sky in five microwave frequency bands. These full-sky maps were used to obtain measurements of temperature and polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background with unprecedented accuracy and precision. The analysis of two-point correlation functions of temperature and polarization data gives determinations of the fundamental cosmological parameters such as the age and composition of the universe, as well as the key parameters describing the physics of inflation, which is further constrained by three-point correlation functions. WMAP observations alone reduced the flat Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) cosmological model (six) parameter volume by a factor of >68,000 compared with pre-WMAP measurements. The WMAP observations (sometimes in combination with other astrophysical probes) convincingly show the existence of non-baryonic dark matter, the cosmic neutrino background, the flatness of the spatial geometry of the universe, a deviation from a scale-invariant spectrum of initial scalar fluctuations, and that the current universe is undergoing an accelerated expansion. The WMAP observations provide the strongest ever support for inflation; namely, the structures we see in the universe originate from quantum fluctuations generated during inflation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)