Feeds

Astronomers glimpse newborn universe

13.7 billion-year-old microwave

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

PolMap 36The oldest light in the universe has allowed scientists to view the universe just one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite was aimed at the background radiation left over from the beginning of the universe for three years. Principal invesigator Charles Bennett said: "The longer WMAP observes, the more it reveals about how our universe grew from microscopic quantum fluctuations to the vast expanse of stars and galaxies we see today."

The work has improved the resolution of the map of tiny fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) left over from the Big Bang (pictured). It has also produced the first data on the polarisation of the CMB, which reveals even more about the features it contains.

In the team's map of the cosmic microwave background 'temperature' (pictured above) red indicates 'warmer' spots and blue 'cooler' spots. The white bars show the polarisation direction of the ancient light. The data shows that for smaller features the relative strength of the signal is lower. NASA says this new information supports a more simple version of how energy was converted into matter by the inflation of space.

WMAP continues to peer at the infant universe, which the researchers expect will improve their data. A big aim of the study is to provide indirect evidence for the existence of gravitational waves by detecting distortion in the polarisation signature. Gravitational waves are a key prediction of Einstein's General Relativity equations. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.