Friday, March 22, 2013

Best Map To Date of the Universe

Hey Space Placers!

Take a good look at this unusual looking map:

Planck (splash)

At first glance it may look like a piece of modern art or something a psychologist may use to elicit a response from a patient.

But what we are seeing here in this collage of colors is the best map to date of the oldest light in the Universe - the light from the Universe when it was just 370,000 years old! The map is the result of over 15 months of data acquired from the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft that surveyed the entire sky. The colors represent tiny temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background - light that originated billions of years ago from the very early Universe.

The clumping that we see is where the formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies was to occur as the Universe grew older. The study of this map also shows that the Universe is older than we previously thought by about a 100 million years to ring in at 13.82 billion years of age. The map also shows us that there is less dark energy and more dark and regular matter present.

The map also provides a new rate of expansion of the Universe that is slower than previous estimates determined by other means and has some new and heretofore unknown features that will push our current theory of the Universe to explain.

More results will be forthcoming in 2014 following further observations by Planck.

Sky Guy in VA

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