A full-sky map of the oldest light in the universe.
Click on image for full size
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 image shows the remains of light emitted during the big
bang, which is now microwave energy.
The light is over 13 billion years old!
The image was created using data from a spacecraft called the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP).
WMAP was launched in June 2001, and will collect data for 3 more years.
Scientist has used data from WMAP to make the best measurement so far of the age
of the universe. According to the scientists, the universe is 13.7 billion years
old, plus or minus one percent. They were surprised to learn that the first stars
to shine in the universe ignited only 200 million years after the big bang,
which is much earlier than they expected.
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