Timeline of cosmic microwave background astronomy

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Timeline of cosmic microwave background astronomy:

Thermal (non-microwave background) temperature predictions[edit]

  • 1896 - Charles Édouard Guillaume estimates the "radiation of the stars" to be 5.6K.[1]
  • 1926 - Sir Arthur Eddington estimates the non-thermal radiation of starlight in the galaxy ".. by the formula E = σT4 the effective temperature corresponding to this density is 3.18º absolute .. black body"[2]
  • 1930s - Cosmologist Erich Regener calculates that the non-thermal spectrum of cosmic rays in the galaxy has an effective temperature of 2.8K
  • 1931 - Term microwave first used in print: "When trials with wavelengths as low as 18 cm. were made known, there was undisguised surprise+that the problem of the micro-wave had been solved so soon." Telegraph & Telephone Journal XVII. 179/1
  • 1934 - Richard Tolman shows that black-body radiation in an expanding universe cools but remains thermal
  • 1938 - Nobel Prize winner (1920) Walther Nernst reestimates the cosmic ray temperature as 0.75K
  • 1941 - Andrew McKellar uses the excitation of CN doublet lines to measure that the "effective temperature of space" is about 2.3 K
  • 1946 - Robert Dicke predicts ".. radiation from cosmic matter" at <20 K, but did not refer to background radiation [3]
  • 1946 - George Gamow calculates a temperature of 50 K (assuming a 3-billion year old Universe),[4] commenting it ".. is in reasonable agreement with the actual temperature of interstellar space", but does not mention background radiation.
  • 1953 - Erwin Finlay-Freundlich in support of his tired light theory, derives a blackbody temperature for intergalactic space of 2.3K [5] with comment from Max Born suggesting radio astronomy as the arbitrator between expanding and infinite cosmologies.

Microwave background radiation predictions[edit]


  1. ^ Guillaume, C.-É., 1896, La Nature 24, series 2, p. 234, cited in "History of the 2.7 K Temperature Prior to Penzias and Wilson" (PDF)
  2. ^ Eddington, A., The Internal Constitution of the Stars, cited in "History of the 2.7 K Temperature Prior to Penzias and Wilson" (PDF)
  3. ^ Helge Kragh, Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe (1999) ISBN 0-691-00546-X. "In 1946 Robert Dicke and coworkers at MIT tested equipment that could test a cosmic microwave background of intensity corresponding to about 20K in the microwave region. However, they did not refer to such a background, but only to 'radiation from cosmic matter'. Also this work was unreleated to cosmology, and is only mentioned because it suggests that by 1950 detection of the background radiation might have been technically possible, and also because of Dicke's later role in the discovery". See also Robert H. Dicke, Robert Beringer, Robert L. Kyhl, and A. B. Vane, "Atmospheric Absorption Measurements with a Microwave Radiometer" (1946) Phys. Rev. 70, 340–348
  4. ^ a b George Gamow, The Creation Of The Universe p.50 (Dover reprint of revised 1961 edition) ISBN 0-486-43868-6
  5. ^ Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, "Ueber die Rotverschiebung der Spektrallinien" (1953) Contributions from the Observatory, University of St. Andrews ; no. 4, p. 96-102. Finlay-Freundlich also gave two extreme values of 1.9K and 6.0K in Finlay-Freundlich, E.: 1954, "Red shifts in the spectra of celestial bodies", Phil. Mag., Vol. 45, pp. 303-319.
  6. ^ Helge Kragh, Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe (1999) ISBN 0-691-00546-X. "Alpher and Herman first calculated the present temperature of the decoupled primordial radiation in 1948, when they reported a value of 5 K. Although it was not mentioned either then or in later publications that the radiation is in the microwave region, this follows immediately from the temperature .. Alpher and Herman made it clear that what they had called "the temperature in the univerese" the previous year referred to a blackbody distributed background radiation quite different from sunliight".
  7. ^ Tigran Shmaonov, Pribory i Teknika Eksperienta (1957)
  8. ^ Dmitri I. Novikov, The Physics of the Cosmic Microwave Background, 2006, Cambridge University Press, 272 pages, ISBN 0-521-85550-0. (page 5)
  9. ^ Helge Kragh, Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe
  10. ^ A. G. Doroshkevich and I. D. Novikov, "Mean Density of Radiation in the Metagalaxy and Certain Problems in Relativistic Cosmology" Sov. Phys. Doklady 9, 111 (1964).
  11. ^ Nobel Prize In Physics: Russia's Missed Opportunities], RIA Novosti, Nov 21, 2006
  12. ^ A. Readhead et al., "Polarization observations with the Cosmic Background Imager", Science 306, 836-844 (2004).
  13. ^ Staff (March 17, 2014). "BICEP2 2014 Results Release". National Science Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  14. ^ Clavin, Whitney (March 17, 2014). "NASA Technology Views Birth of the Universe". NASA. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Overbye, Dennis (March 17, 2014). "Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ Overbye, Dennis (March 24, 2014). "Ripples From the Big Bang". New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Ade, P.A.R. et al (BICEP2 Collaboration) (June 19, 2014). "Detection of B-Mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2" (PDF). Physical Review Letters 112: 241101. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.241101. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=6865
  19. ^ Overbye, Dennis (June 19, 2014). "Astronomers Hedge on Big Bang Detection Claim". New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ Amos, Jonathan (June 19, 2014). "Cosmic inflation: Confidence lowered for Big Bang signal". BBC News. Retrieved June 20, 2014.