Space

Planck Probe Takes "Baby Picture" of the Universe

Cosmic microwave background reveals universe a little bit older than previously estimated

|


The European-led team behind the Planck cosmology probe on Thursday released the mission's first all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background — a post-big-bang "baby picture" that suggests our universe is slightly older than scientists thought.

The map traces subtle fluctuations in temperature that were imprinted on the deep sky when it was just 380,000 years old. Scientists say the imprint reflects ripples that arose as early as the first nonillionth of a second of the universe's existence. These ripples are thought to have given rise to today's vast cosmic web of galaxy clusters and dark matter.