Feeds

Universe gains an extra hundred million years

Planck also refines matter measurements

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.