Planck pins down the end of the cosmic 'dark ages'

February 6, 2015 1:44 PM

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The first stars and large-scale structure in our universe formed much later than previously thought, according to the latest maps and data from the European Space Agency's Planck telescope, which has been scrutinizing the polarized fossil light from the early universe. Planck's new timeline pinpoints when star formation began in the nascent universe. This signalled the end of the cosmic "dark ages" and knowing when it occurred will help improve our understanding of the earliest epochs of the universe.

Some 380,000 years after the Big Bang, its thermal remnant – known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – emerged when neutral atoms first formed and space became transparent to light. While the CMB covers the whole sky at microwave wavelengths, it also includes some detailed information in the ...

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