JUL 31, 2020 10:12 AM PDT

Light from the Big Bang Reveals Age of the Universe

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

From analyzing ancient light emitted by the Big Bang, physicists have been able to provide a new estimate of the Earth's age. While previous estimates were 13.7 billion years old, give or take 130,000 years, new predictions hone in with more precision- at around 13.77 billion years, plus or minus 40 million years. 

From data collected by multiple telescopes in the Chilean Atacama Desert, the findings weigh in on one of the most pertinent disagreements in astrophysics: the speed at which the universe is expanding. While the results support one side of the argument, they are unable to adequately disprove the other. 

But why is this figure so controversial? The age of the universe is fundamental for understanding the rate at which the universe is expanding. This, by itself, is then essential for the field of cosmology- understanding the universe's past, present, and future. Although dark energy, an unknown matter, is thought to fuel this expansion, astronomers are in disagreement of when it began largely due to different methods of measurement. 

While one method is based on how fast nearby galaxies are moving away from the Milky Way, the other is based on studying the oldest light in space, also known as cosmic microwave background (CMB). Differing results between the two methods have led some to ponder whether physicists have a blindspot in their theories and methods of measurement, the current findings support findings from the CMB theory. 

"We find an expansion rate that is right on the estimate by the Planck satellite team (another study of the CMB)," says Steve Choi, an astrophysicist at Cornell University and lead author of one of two new papers. "This gives us more confidence in measurements of the universe's oldest light."

Although in support of the CMB theory, researchers warn that these results are still inconclusive, meaning the age of the universe may still remain a mystery. 

 

Sources: Space.comLive Science

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
AUG 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
AUG 27, 2020
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
Researchers say that a space rock that landed in Costa Rica on April 23rd, 2019, came from an asteroid that exists as a ...
AUG 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
AUG 31, 2020
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
If a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, the forces exerted on the star tear it to shreds, generating a hu ...
SEP 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Could There Be Life on Venus?
SEP 10, 2020
Could There Be Life on Venus?
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, reaching 465 degrees Celcius- a temperature hot enough to melt lead. Wh ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
JAN 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Settling the Debate Over the Age of the Universe
JAN 06, 2021
Settling the Debate Over the Age of the Universe
Astronomers have used powerful telescopes high in the Atacama desert to evaluate estimates of the age of the universe. T ...
Loading Comments...