The Big Bang Theory Gets a Big Boost

A satellite finds evidence that the cosmos began with a titanic explosion

PHYSICISTS DON'T MUCH LIKE GETTING UP EARLY, but they packed promptly into an 8:00 a.m. gathering of the American Physical Society in Washington last week. They were drawn, fittingly enough, by rumors of revelations about the very first dawn, and they were rewarded with dramatic news.

NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite -- COBE -- has found something astronomers have been seeking for nearly 30 years: an almost imperceptible pattern of warm and cool patches in the cosmic microwave background radiation, the oldest light in the cosmos. The radiation was created only 300,000 years after the Big Bang explosion that began the...

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