March 21 - Analysis of the best ever map of the earliest light in the universe has yielded important findings about the composition and evolution of the Universe, from its birth to the present day and beyond. Mana Rabiee reports.
A new perspective on the universe. Scientists revealed on Thursday the most detailed map of the first light of the universe. Their findings challenge fundamental principles of the Big Bang theory, or how our universe expands, also called Inflationary Theory. Cambridge University astrophysicist, George Efstathiou. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE EFSTATHIOU, PROFESSOR OF ASTROPHYSICS, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "It may be that we've been fooled, that inflation didn't happen. It's perfectly possible that there was some phase of the universe before the Big Bang actually happened where you can track the history of the universe to a period, a pre-big bang period." The map comes from the European Space Agency's Planck telescope. Among the most surprising findings: unexpected large scale anomalies in the sky. Their presence is inconsistent with current theories of Universe expansion, says Project scientist Jan Tauber. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN TAUBER, PLANCK PROJECT SCIENTIST ESA SAYING: "Because of these features we're finding in the sky people are really in a situation now where they cannot ignore them anymore, they have been hints of these things in the past but they have been able to ignore them but not any more because we've established them as facts." Scientists say Planck is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the birth, evolution and ultimate fate of our universe.