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The Oldest Light in the Universe: Image of the Month

25 Mar 2013, 10:33 UTC
The Oldest Light in the Universe: Image of the Month
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“How could the Universe we see around us be created by an explosion?” This is a question often asked by those puzzled by the scientific consensus, the standard model of cosmology, which tells of our entire Universe bursting forth in a single dramatic event, the Big Bang. Modern thinking suggests that the Big Bang event was not a completely uniform eruption of energy. Immediately after the Big Bang, minute regions of slightly different density flickered across the seething chaos. These tiny irregularies became the foundations of all the structures we see now before a rapid period of cosmic inflation stretched them to significant size. Effectively, these little variations in temperature and density were the seeds of the stars and galaxies of today. A European Space Agency space telescope has now mapped these tiny and ancient fluctuations more accurately than ever before, mostly confirming established theories- but hinting of mysteries.

A new map of heaven: the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as observed by Planck. The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380 000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond ...

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