WILKINSON MICROWAVE ANISOTROPY PROBE
FULL SKY PICTURE OF THE OLDEST LIGHT IN THE UNIVERSE
A "baby picture" of the universe. Colors indicate "warmer" (red) and "cooler" (blue) spots. The oval displays the whole sky.
Microwave (radio wave) light in the picture is from 380,000 years after the Big Bang, over 13 billion years ago: like a picture of an 80 year old on the day of their birth.
The data shows the seeds that generated the cosmic structure we see today. The patterns are tiny temperature differences within an extraordinarily evenly dispersed microwave light bathing the Universe, which now averages a frigid 2.73 degrees above absolute zero temperature. WMAP resolves slight temperature fluctuations which vary by only millionths of a degree.