The Universe: 100 Million Years Older Than Estimated, Slower and Just a Bit Lopsided


Sun, Mar 24th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the European Space Agency's Planck mission, a spacecrat that has been "scanning the entire sky, over and over, peering at the radio and microwaves pouring out of the Universe," scientists have determined that the universe is 13.82 billion years old, it's expanding at a slower rate than predicted, is less than 5% normal matter and it's a bit lopsided. From the article on Slate by Phil Plait:

Of all the results announced so far, this may be the most provocative. We expect the Universe to be pretty smooth on large scales. Those early fluctuations should be random, so when you look around at this ancient light, the pattern should be pretty random.

And it is! The distribution of the fluctuations is quite random. It may look to your eye to have patterns, but our brains are miserable at seeing true randomness; we impose order on it. You have to use computers, math, and statistics to measure the distribution to test for true randomness, and the Universe passes the test.

Kindof. The distribution is random, but the amplitudes of the fluctuations are not. Amplitude is how bright they are; like the height of a wave. It?s hard to see by eye, but in the big map made by Planck, the fluctuations are a wee bit brighter than they should be on one side, and a wee bit dimmer on the other. It?s an incredibly small effect, but appears to be real. It was seen in WMAP data and confirmed by Planck.



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