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Universe Is 20 Million Years Older Than Thought

The recent measurement made of the universe"s age has determined that our universe is about 20 million years older than thought.

According to National Geographic News, the estimate was made using latest data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). The satellite launched in 2001 that has been mapping what"s known as the cosmic microwave background radiation.

This satellite suggests the “afterglow of creation" started radiation as matter began to cool 400,000 years after the big bang created the universe.

By mapping the cosmic microwave background, WMAP is accurately creating a picture of the early years of the cosmos.

With precise enough measurements, scientists can detect variations in temperature in this primordial light: hot and cold spots that supposedly formed the seeds of galaxies.

By matching the size of the spots—as well as other WMAP data—to hundreds of millions of mathematical models researchers can decide which model best matches reality.

“I like to describe it as a fingerprint.We can make a bunch of computer simulations of universes that all look different," by inputting different values for the unknowns, such as the exact age and the amount of dark matter," said study co-author Charles Bennett, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The researchers see what matches and discover what our universe looks like. The researchers claim that they can actually have a map book with varied geography of the Universe at various times.

Based on seven years of WMAP data, Bennett and colleagues reported that the universe is 13.75 billion years old, give or take 0.11 billion. Twenty million years might seem short, in the grand scheme of things.

This defined age gives scientists a better shot at solving some of the great mysteries of the universe, such as dark matter and dark energy.

Read more about: mysteries microwave
Story first published: Friday, February 19, 2010, 9:05 [IST]
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