The Planck Spacecraft has been peering back in time. All the way back in time, actually, to the very origins of our universe. What it saw there was 80 million years unaccounted for by our human calculators, but also an affirmation that what we think we know about the origins of our universe are largely true.
As it turns out, the universe is 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.” Our previous estimation of 13.01B was pretty damn accurate, considering the numbers we’re dealing with in such caclucations.
From such data there is much to learn, like this, from George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge: “We’ve uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe. There’s less stuff that we don’t understand by a tiny amount.”
One of the things that I love about astronomy and the physics and the Big Bang is that seemingly minor statements like “there’s less stuff we don’t understand by a tiny amount,” are assigned the designation, rightfully, of fundamental truths.
If you are unfamiliar with the Planck, you might have seen the results it has been sending home. The telescope is currently mapping the cosmos, gathering light and sound and all the data it can while its tanks are full. Which won’t be terribly long. The observatory’s cooling fluid will run out later this year.