The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 21, 2013

Universe is about 80 million years old; Big Bang gets clearer

PARIS — New results from a look into the split second after the Big Bang indicate the universe is 80 million years older than previously thought but the core concepts of the cosmos — how it began, what it's made of and where it's going — seem to be on the right track.

The findings released Thursday bolster a key theory called inflation, which says the universe burst from subatomic size to its now-observable expanse in a fraction of a second.

The Big Bang is the most comprehensive theory of the universe's beginning. It says the visible portion of the universe was smaller than an atom when, in a split second, it exploded, cooled and expanded rapidly, much faster than the speed of light.

The European Space Agency's Planck space probe looked back at the afterglow of the Big Bang, and those results have now added about 80 million years to the universe's age, putting it 13.81 billion years old.

The probe also found that the cosmos is expanding a bit slower than originally thought, has a little less of that mysterious dark energy than astronomers figured and a tad more normal matter. But scientists say those are small changes in calculations about the cosmos, nothing dramatic when dealing with numbers so massive.

"We've uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe," said George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge who announced the Planck satellite mapping. "There's less stuff that we don't understand by a tiny amount."

The $900 million Planck space telescope was launched in 2009. It has spent 15 1/2 months mapping the sky, examining light fossils and sound echoes from the Big Bang by looking at the background radiation in the cosmos. The device is expected to keep transmitting data until late 2013, when it runs out of cooling fluid.

Officials at NASA, which also was part of the experiment, said this provided a deeper understanding of the intricate history of the universe and its complex composition.

Outside scientists said the result confirms on a universal scale what the announcement earlier this month by a different European group confirmed on a subatomic scale — that they had found the Higgs boson particle which explains mass in the universe.

"What a wonderful triumph of the mathematical approach to describing nature," said Brian Greene, a Columbia University physicist who was not part of the new research. "It's an amazing story of discovery."

 

1
Text Only
News
  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

  • Report: Pennsylvania forests impacted by drilling

    PITTSBURGH — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

    April 18, 2014

  • TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Route 45 east of Montandon

    MONTANDON — A paving project is slowing traffic today on Route 45 east of Montandon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Accident victims remain in critical condition this morning

    DANVILLE - Victims from serious traffic accidents the past two days remain in critical condition this morning at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    April 18, 2014

  • Porn prank riles Bucknell University president

    LEWISBURG — A fake email that contained a link to a pornographic website was sent to Bucknell students, faculty and staff on Tuesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • 28-mile cross walk steps off in Northumberland

    SUNBURY — Two “cross walks” this morning, including a 28-mile trek from Northumberland to Beaver Springs, are among the highlights of Easter activities and services in the Valley.

    April 18, 2014

  • rsstrike18a.jpg Picketing begins at four Danville schools

    DANVILLE — It started like any other school day during the year, with teachers up early and arriving at school at 7:30 in the morning.

     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Line Mountain board, teachers to talk Tuesday

    MANDATA — Line Mountain school board President Troy Laudenslager is far more optimistic this week than he has been as the board and the Line Mountain Education Association head into their first contract negotiation session in three months.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.