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Most precise snapshot of the universe unveiled

Planck telescope fine-tunes numbers that define the cosmos

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12:25pm, December 3, 2014
all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background

BIG SKY  An all-sky map of the cosmic microwave background from the Planck space telescope shows subtle temperature fluctuations (red is warmer, blue cooler) that were present 380,000 years after the Big Bang.  

From a palace in Ferrara, Italy, cosmologists have unveiled the most detailed maps yet of the infant universe. The announcement, on December 1, kicked off a weeklong conference showcasing the latest findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. The new results largely confirm earlier measurements of the makeup of the cosmos, but they also rule out some ideas about dark matter, the elusive substance thought to bind galaxies together.

There are no major surprises, says David Spergel, a cosmologist at Princeton University who, like most researchers, is relying on e-mail and Twitter to hear about the results. Compared with Planck’s first results, presented in 2013, not much has changed (SN: 4/20/13, p. 5). We live

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