COBE satellite's view of the Milky Way, 11 February, 1990.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Edge-on view of the Milky Way galaxy in infrared light, taken from the Goddard Space Flight Center's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) orbiting Earth. NASA (National aeronautics & Space Administration) used COBE to prove the 'Big Bang' theory of the universe's creation. The theory, proposed in 1927 by Belgian cosmologist Georges Lematre, holds that an incredibly dense 'primeval atom' exploded with tremendous force, unleashing matter and space at the speeds of light. In addition to proving the Big Bang, COBE discovered that the cosmic background radiation had been produced in the Big Bang as scientists had speculated. Data showed that primordial temperature and density fluctuations gave rise to the Milky Way and other large-scale objects in space.