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 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.
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