Few observations have given as profound an insight into the workings of our Universe as the detection of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). This faint glow, which originated in the Big Bang, not only confirms that the Big Bang happened at all, it also tells us what the Universe is made of, when the seeds for the matter within it were sown, what shape it is, and what its future is likely to be.
How can a single picture reveal so much? This collection of articles gives a comprehensive entry-level overview of the CMB and its oracle-like status, an introduction to the models cosmologists use to understand our Universe, and some relevant background reading. Enjoy!
This package is part of our Who's watching? The physics of observers project, run in collaboration with FQXi. Click here to see more articles and videos about questions to do with observers in physics.