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A full-sky map of the oldest light in the universe.
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Image courtesy NASA/WMAP Science Team

The Oldest Light in the Universe
News story originally written on February 14, 2003

NASA scientists have taken a "snapshot" picture of the oldest light in the universe. The picture shows what is left of light given off during the big bang. The light is over 13 billion years old! This old light has lost energy over the years, and is now microwave radiation.

The picture was made using data from a spacecraft called WMAP. WMAP measured the age of the universe. Scientists now think the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Data from WMAP also tells us that the first stars started to shine about 200 million years after the big bang. That is much earlier than scientists expected.


Last modified February 14, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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