Age of Universe estimated to be 13.75 billion years

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Washington, Feb 5 (ANI): New estimates have indicated that the age of the Universe is 13.75 billion years, which is 20 million years more than was analyzed earlier.

Previously, scientists using data from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) measured the time since the Big Bang to be an incredibly precise 13.73 billion years (give or take 0.12 billion years).

And now, according to a report in Discovery News, using the same space-based observatory, the age of the universe has been refined even further, adding another 20 million years to the total (plus or minus 0.11 billion years).

Using data from the first 7 years of operation, this refined universal age could be arrived at.

Previously, the first 5 years of WMAP observations were used.

The longer the observatory is operational, the longer the exposure time, therefore the results become more precise.

This news comes as a series of papers from the WMAP team have been published concerning several different aspects of the observations.

WMAP is constantly surveying the furthermost reaches of the universe, measuring the very faint "echo" of the Big Bang.

This echo is known as cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, a remnant of the vast energies unleashed as the universe burst into being.

By mapping the slight variations of temperature in this background radiation, a lot of information about the conditions of the early universe can be gleaned, but cosmologists aren't only interested how long ago the Big Bang occurred.

They are trying to find further evidence for what we believe happened in the moments after the Big Bang and now WMAP is filling in the gaps of our knowledge.

In addition to the precise age measurement, WMAP has been able to detect small acoustic oscillations (the cosmic equivalent to sound waves) in the CMB radiation, and the signature detected suggests primordial helium was generated in predicted quantities in the early stages of universal evolution.

Also, by measuring the fluctuations of the CMB radiation over all scales, there is evidence that suggests there was a very rapid expansion just after the Big Bang.

This supports inflation theory and provides further evidence for the mysterious "Dark Energy" that is predicted to permeate through the universe, causing space-time to expand at an accelerated rate. (ANI)

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