Closer scrutiny of radiation left over from the creation of the universe shows the Big Bang took place about 13.8 billion years ago, 100 million years earlier than previous estimates, scientists said on Thursday.
The findings are among the first results from analysis of data collected by the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft, which is providing the most detailed look to date at the remnant microwave radiation that permeates the universe.
This relic radiation was first detected in 1964 and later mapped by two NASA spacecraft – COBE, launched in 1989, and WMAP, which followed two years later. With even greater sensitivity, Planck has picked out details of tiny temperature variations in the so-called cosmic microwave background.
The fluctuations, which differ by only about 100-millionths of a degree, correspond to slightly more dense regions of space, places that later gave rise to the stars and galaxies that fill the universe.
Interestingly, religion has still yet to yield any useful information about the Universe.