UK & World News
'Oldest Light' In Universe Picture Released
A new picture of space indicates that the universe is even older than first thought - around 60 million years to be precise.
Space scientists have released an image of "the oldest light" ever seen.
The ground-breaking picture from Europe's Planck satellite shows an image of light from when the universe was just 380,000 years old.
The experts say it shows the 'relic radiation' left over from the Big Bang - the widely accepted theory for the start of the universe.
Dr George Efstathiou of the University of Cambridge said: "It may look like a dirty rugby ball or a piece of modern art" but "to cosmologists this is a gold mine of information."
The scientists also revealed that they believe the universe is older than originally thought.
Data from the Planck satellite dates the universe at 13.82 billion years old - 60 million years earlier than previously thought.
Dr Chris Castelli of the UK Space Agency said: "With its ability to make such detailed and accurate observations, Planck is helping us to place the vital pieces of a jigsaw that could give us a full picture of the evolution of our Universe, rewriting the textbooks along the way."
Launched in 2009, the Planck satellite is a joint European venture that is supported by various UK institutions.
Scientists are still analysing the wealth of complex new information from this project and say the next set of cosmology data will be released in early 2014.
Joanna Dunkley from the University of Oxford said: "The size of these tiny ripples holds the key to what happened in that first trillionth of a trillionth of a second.
"Planck has given us striking new evidence that indicates they were created during this incredibly fast expansion, just after the Big Bang."