Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

April 15, 1996

NASA Mission to MAP the Universe
Credit: MAP Team, NASA

Explanation: What is our universe made of? How rapidly is our universe expanding? When did galaxies form? These questions, among the most important and baffling to astronomers since the beginning of the modern astronomical era, might well be answered by a new space satellite mission. The Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) is being designed inspect the universe's microwave background radiation in more detail then ever before. MAP will record the frequency, size and temperature of bumps 20 times smaller than COBE. Astronomers have computed what bumps would be expected from several models of our universe, and comparing these results to MAP's data may yield a new understanding of the composition and structure of our universe. MAP has just won approval as a NASA MIDEX class satellite, and is currently scheduled to launch in the year 2000.

Tomorrow's picture: Cometary Knots in the Helix Nebula

< Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.