Universe 80M Years Older Than We Thought

Scientists get most accurate look yet at Big Bang-era radiation

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff | Suggested by AstroDude

Posted Mar 21, 2013 3:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – The universe has been around just a bit longer than we've given it credit for. Scientists today unveiled the most accurate data ever recorded from the radiation left over from the milliseconds after the Big Bang, revealing that the universe is roughly 80 million years older than advertised, Science News reports. Of course, that only amounts to a 0.5% difference given that the universe is around 13.81 billion years old.

But that was far from the only finding of value. The data comes from the Planck space telescope, and combines to form a kind of map of the universe. "It might look like a dirty rugby ball, but some cosmologists would have given up their children to get a copy of this map," says one University of Cambridge cosmologist. Among the puzzling findings: Half of the sky appears to have more fluctuations than the other, contradicting the theory that the universe should look nearly identical in all directions.

This image released March 21 by the ESA and Planck Collaboration shows the afterglow of the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background, as detected by the European Space Agency's Planck space probe.   (AP Photo/ESA, Planck Collaboration via NASA)
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