Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Teachers' Corner   |  

WMAP Inflatable Universe Teaching Ball

WMAP Teaching Ball

This beach ball portrays an image of the oldest light in the universe, a direct remnant of the Big Bang. This light was emitted by hydrogen gas 380,000 years after the Big Bang, long before stars and galaxies formed. The patterns in this light trace minute variations in the early gas density (a part in 100,000) and provide valuable information about the age, shape, and composition of our universe. They imply a universe that is 13.7 billion years old consisting mostly of dark matter and dark energy: only 4.6% of the energy is in the form of atoms. This full-sky map was produced from data collected by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) between 2001 and 2006.

Fact Sheet Insert

The WMAP Beach Ball can be used to teach about the universe, measurements, space science, and cosmology. (

If you would like to order the WMAP Inflatable Universe Teaching Ball, please use our order form.

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index