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|Subject: New Map Made of First Trillionth of a Trillionth of a Second After Big Bang Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:44 am|| |
The European Space Agency’s Planck satellite has released the most detailed map of the universe ever created, refining estimates of the age of the universe and its composition, as well as showing some interesting anomalies that scientists can’t yet explain.
Launched in 2009, Planck has been gathering data on the cosmic background radiation, an extremely cold glow leftover from the Big Bang. This radiation corresponds to particles of light that were emitted just 380,000 years after the universe was born, when the first atoms were formed. At that time, the entire cosmos was filled with white-hot radiation of 2,700 degrees Celsius. Over the age of the universe, the radiation has cooled to just 2.7 degrees above absolute zero. It now comes almost uniformly from every area of the sky at once.
“Planck’s data delivers a remarkable abundance of riches,” said cosmologist Krzysztof Gorski, who works on the U.S. portion of the Planck mission, during a NASA press conference Thursday. “We are very excited about the results as Planck gives us a chance to peek into the unknown.”
Scientists can look at the light from this era to determine the basic characteristics of the universe. Planck’s data tells cosmologists that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, about 100 million years older than previously thought, and contains slightly more matter, both ordinary and dark, than previous data suggested. It was also apparently expanding slightly faster at earlier times and slightly slower at later times than previously thought.
“The detailed measurements of the basic properties of the universe are slightly changed, but the overall picture is evolutionary, not revolutionary,” wrote physicist Matt Strassler of Rutgers University in New Jersey on his blog, Of Particular Significance, adding that it will still take a while to sift through the data and uncover all its significant components.
found @ http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/new-planck-data/