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Most detailed map of early universe to help unravel mystery of birth

Last Updated: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 23:34

Washington: Observations from the Planck spacecraft has helped create the most detailed map of the early universe.

The map reveals fluctuations in temperature in the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang -what we call the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).

Recently, scientists on the Planck team announced finding certain large-scale features on the CMB sky that they cannot explain. One of them: a large cold spot, which corresponds to an anomalously large area of high density.

To discuss the findings, The Kavli Foundation held a discussion with three key members on the team. One important question: Will the theory for how the universe began need to be modified, amended or even fundamentally changed?

"The theory of inflation predicts that today`s universe should appear uniform at the largest scales in all directions," George Efstathiou, professor of Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at Cambridge (KICC), said.

"That uniformity should also characterize the distribution of fluctuations at the largest scales within the CMB. But these anomalies, which Planck confirmed, such as the cold spot, suggest that this isn`t the case," he said.

Anthony Lasenby, a member of the Planck Core Team and professor of astrophysics and cosmology at Cambridge and Deputy Director of KICC said, "[This] data is really putting pressure on some alternative inflation models.... Inflation actually may have been more limited in scope than previously theorized."


First Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 23:34
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