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The Big story this week …

23 March 2013

The big story this week is undoubtedly the two reports issued by NASA on the Planck images of the universe – see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-109&cid=release_2013-109 which concerns the Planck space mission (telescope) which has released a detailed mapping of the oldest stars, and therefore light, in the universe, revealing new information about age, contents, and origins. Apparently, the universe is not expanding as fast as the consensus would have had us believe, even last week. The universe, they say, is 100 million years older than theorised previously. There is also less dark energy than assumed – and thereofre more in the way of actual matter, as well as dark matter. Dark matter is an invisible theorisation that can only be seen through the effect of its gravity, while it is thought dark energy is what expands the universe, hence why it is now thought there is less of it out there. The nature of both, the piece adds, remains mysterious.

The findings are based on 15 months of observations by the Planck telescope and it is thought they have picked out tiny temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, ancient light, or energy, that has travelled for billions of years from the early universe.

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-110&cid=release_2013-110 is a follow up news blurb on the use of a super computer in the research. The story is somewhat different at http://phys.org/print283083710.html … where the findings are said to hint at a giant excess of anti-neutrinos, where the subject is baryon asymmetry, involving baryons (protons and neutrinos) and leptons (electrons and neutrinos) and they say that data from the cosmic microwave background suggests the universe contains an excess of anti-neutrinos compared with the 'straight' variety (normal). The specualtion now is that the universe has for more leptons than baryons – apparently, an unexpected result.

At http://phys.org/print283085406.html … is on the Planck map and http://phys.org/print283065113.html … is similar to the other NASA report.

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