Europe’s Planck spacecraft presented the most detailed map of the earliest universe pointing towards the new physics. However, the new data is going slightly parallel with the scientists’ theories about the early universe.
Although the new map, based on the mission’s first 15.5 months of all-sky observations, is parallel with the theory of inflation, according to which, the early universe inflated in size every 10^-35 seconds but this map is not supporting the concept of the theory of inflation about the uniform expansion of the universe in all directions.
Cosmic microwave background (CMB) helps scientists to know about the early universe and the new map of Planck shows that the small temperature variations occur in the shiny space.
“One of the features of inflation is it says there should be no preferred direction — everywhere in the universe should be more or less the same,” astrophysicist Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University said today (March 21) during a NASA press call. “But when you look at the amplitudes, even by eye you can tell that one side of the universe looks different from the other side.”
Some other points of Planck are different from those of the theory of inflation such as that the variations are different on small scales and on large scales and some large features such as large cold spots are not predicted in the basic inflation models.
New CMB measurements presented new estimate for the age and expansion rate of the universe that according to the Planck scientists’ calculations are 13.8 billion years old, and 41.73 miles (67.15 kilometers) per second per megaparsec, respectively. The expansion rate is also known as the Hubble constant and the new estimates are less than the earlier estimates from the space telescopes such as NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble, using a different technique.
“This is one of the most exciting parts of the data, is this apparent tension between these different ways to estimate how rapidly the universe is expanding,” said Martin White, U.S. Planck scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “The hope would be that this is actually pointing toward some deficiency in the models or some extra physics.”
According to the new estimates, dark matter composes about 26.8% of the universe (previous estimates were 24%), dark energy composes about 68.3% of the universe (previous estimates were 71.4%) and the normal/ordinary known matter composes about 4.9% (previous estimates were 4.6%).
Ultimately, the data show “some features that are surprising and very, very intriguing,” said Charles Lawrence, U.S. Planck project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“Hopefully in the process of understanding those features better we will be able to glimpse answers to some of our deepest questions.”
Complete results from Planck, which is still working on the skies, will be released in 2014.