NASA MAPs the microwave background

2 October 2001

NASA launched its Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) this summer. The
experiment will measure the cosmic microwave background to one part in a million,
with a sensitivity that is greater than 20 µK.

MAP will be the first spacecraft
to follow an L2 orbit – the second Lagrange point – about the Earth and Moon, which
is an exceptionally stable environment. It will take about 18 months to build up a
full sky picture and carry out the analysis, so make a note in your diary for March

  • For more on the microwave background and observations of
    fluctuations in it, see CERN Courier July/August.
    bright-rec iop pub iop-science physcis connect