Abstract and Keywords
Observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) form the basis for modern ‘precision cosmology’. This chapter treats the discovery of a ≈3 K microwave background and the demonstration of its cosmic origin. Key observational results, up to and including the results from the COBE mission, follow. The major impact of the CMB comes from measurements of the power spectra of fluctuations in the temperature and polarization. The chapter ends with results derived from the power spectra obtained by the Planck mission, including values for the baryon, dark matter, and dark energy densities; the curvature of space; and the expansion rate of the Universe.
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