Feeds

Universe gains an extra hundred million years

Planck also refines matter measurements

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Among the mysteries revealed by the first set of papers released out of the Planck telescope data is a new estimate for the age of the Universe: at 13.8 billion years, it's 100 million years older than previously calculated.

As explained by The Register here, the space probe's mission is to give astronomers a better map of the cosmic background radiation (CMB), filtering out emissions from stars and galaxies to capture only the drastically red-shifted echoes of the Big Bang.

As NASA explains in this release, the CMB “provides scientists with a snapshot of the universe 370,000 years after the big bang. Light existed before this time, but it was locked in a hot plasma similar to a candle flame, which later cooled and set the light free.”

The original temperature of the plasma is estimated to have been around 2700°C. After light was set free and the universe expanded, the emitted light was red-shifted to microwave wavelengths, equivalent to a temperature of just 2.7°K.

Although the 15.5 months of all-sky observations from the probe have thrown up mysteries like the “cold spot” in the CMB we covered earlier, one thing that pleases researchers is to find that “simple models” of the ancient universe are holding up relatively well.

“By showing that matter seems to be distributed randomly, suggests that random processes were at play in the very early universe on minute 'quantum' scales. This allows scientists to rule out many complex inflation theories in favor of simple ones,” NASA explains.

The data has also revised physics understanding of the make-up of the universe: there's less dark energy than thought, and more matter (both normal matter and dark matter). The new estimate for dark energy is down to 68.3 percent of the universe (down from 71.4 percent); dark matter has been revised upwards from 24 percent to 26.8 percent, with normal matter boosted from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent.

The ESA has posted a video explaining the mission's CMB work (below). ®

Watch Video

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?