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Tuesday, 09 March 2010 09:59

Scientists say universe is 20M years older

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According to data analyzed from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), astrophysicists from Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University state they now know the age of the Universe even more precisely than before, and it is a little older than earlier thought.



U.S. theoretical astrophysicist David Spergel, from Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey), U.S. astrophysicist Charles Bennett, from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) and other fellow colleagues used seven years of data from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) to come up with the more precise age for our Universe--one that is 20 million years older than previously thought.

The WMAP spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, on June 30, 2001 at 19:46:46 GMT.

Since then, scientists have been discovering many new and exiting things about our Universe such as the first direct detection of pre-stellar helium, detection of a critical signature of inflation, and various constraints for the number of neutrino-like particles in the early Universe.

For their new age of the Universe, the U.S. astrophysicists compared hot and cold spots of a type of electromagnetic radiation (light) called cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.

These spots were compared, specifically, as to their sizes when the universe was first born and now today.

These hot and cold spots within the CMB radiation, according to the Science News article 'Relic radiation refines age of cosmos' (February 27, 2010, page 7) are '... tiny primordial lumps from which galaxies grew.'

So, read page two to find out the new value for the age of the Universe.




The astrophysicists find that the Universe is 13.75 billion years old, with an uncertainty of 11 million years.

These same scientists earlier estimated the age of the Universe to be 13.73 billion years old, give or take 12 million years. However, at that time, they had used the WMAP data, which at that time had been taken over a period of five years.

This new data was backed up with seven years of observations by WMAP.

The March 26, 2008 iTWire article 'NASA's WMAP space probe says universe is 13.73 billion years old' discusses the WMAP data that provided the scientists with their previous (2008) estimate of the Universe's age.

It states that 'The NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrpy Probe (WMAP) analyzed the cosmic microwave background radiation, which was left over from the Big Bang, to find the most precise age of the universe yet measured: 13.73 billion years.'

The article added, 'The scientists state that this more precise measurement for the age of the universe is very important for testing theoretical models for the origin of the universe and the formation of galaxies and stars.'


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