Map of young universe revealed by King's Fellow

ESA map of the universe

Map of the cosmic microwave background of the universe

George Efstathiou

George Efstathiou

Yesterday cosmologist and King's Fellow Prof George Efstathiou revealed the most detailed picture yet of the early Universe.

Prof Efstathiou is part of a European Space Agency team that has analysed 15 months' worth of data from the Planck space telescope. The telescope measures the cosmic microwave background of the Universe, the radiation originating from soon after the Big Bang.

The team observed the cosmic microwave background with high precision and created an all-sky map of the temperature differences when the Universe was only 380,000 years old. These temperature differences were created at an even earlier time -- a trillionth, trillionth, trillionth second after the Big Bang.

The findings have already created a buzz amongst scientists. The map agrees extremely well with the Big Bang theory, but it shows that the universe is 100 million years older, and is expanding less quickly, than previously thought.

The findings also give credence to the idea that just after the birth of the Universe space expanded faster than the speed of light.

You can find more details, including an audio interview with Prof Efstathiou, on the BBC news website. Another article on the news website discusses the implications of the findings, with comments from Prof Efstathiou and former King's Research Fellow Hiranya Peiris.

22 March 2013