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PHY 111 Testing inflation

PHY 111 Testing inflation - far away from each other to...

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Testing Inflation The best tests of inflation are being done using the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe or WMAP satellite. This has been mapping the cosmic background radiation and looking for the small variations in temperature. These radio signals are from when the universe was about 380,000 years old. Before this time the universe was opaque and any signal from before this time was immediately absorbed after they were emitted. The cosmic background radiation that is detected is part of the first signals that were able traverse the universe. WMAP found that the in all directions the universe is about the same temperature with variations in only by about one ten thousandth of a degree Kelvin. The WMAP looked at the regions of space that are at the edge of our horizon. The biggest reason that this finding supports the inflation theory is because the regions that it has looked at are too
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Unformatted text preview: far away from each other to have the same temperature. A gas will eventually all come to the same temperature if given enough time to exchange information (using photons) but these regions have not had enough time to exchange photons and should therefore not be the same temperature. In order for the remote edges of the universe to have been able to exchange photons then they must have been closer together at some point in the past. It is believed that before the time of inflation the universe would have been small enough for photons to be exchanged and for the temperature and density of the universe to have equalized. After this the edges of the universe were pushed by inflation beyond the reaches of each other. Looking at the cosmic background radiation remains the best test for proving inflation because it is the best at explaining the data that was gathered by the WMAP satellite....
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