Thursday, March 27, 2008

Universe is 13.73 Billion Years Old

The latest on the "age of the universe" thread of this blog is news from NASA that it's been estimated to be 13.73 billion years old, see WMAP Reveals Neutrinos, End of Dark Ages, First Second of Universe
"NASA released this week five years of data collected by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) that refines our understanding of the universe and its development. ... WMAP measures a remnant of the early universe - its oldest light. The conditions of the early times are imprinted on this light. It is the result of what happened earlier, and a backlight for the later development of the universe. This light lost energy as the universe expanded over 13.7 billion years, so WMAP now sees the light as microwaves. By making accurate measurements of microwave patterns, WMAP has answered many longstanding questions about the universe's age, composition and development.

Microwave light seen by WMAP from when the universe was only 380,000 years old, shows that, at the time, neutrinos made up 10% of the universe, atoms 12%, dark matter 63%, photons 15%, and dark energy was negligible. In contrast, estimates from WMAP data show the current universe consists of 4.6% percent atoms, 23% dark matter, 72% dark energy and less than 1 percent neutrinos.

WMAP cosmic microwave fluctuations over the full sky with 5-years of data. Colors [in the image] represent the tiny temperature fluctuations of the remnant glow from the infant universe: red regions are warmer and blue are cooler."