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Article updated: 3/21/2013 5:47 PM

Universe ages 80M years; Big Bang gets clearer

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George Efstathiou, a European Space Agency astrophysicist, in front of the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background acquired by ESA's Planck space telescope. Efstathiou, who announced the Planck satellite mapping on Thursday, says the findings also offer new specificity of the universe's composition.

Associated Press

The most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background acquired by European Space Agency's Planck space telescope.

Associated Press

This image released on Thursday March 21, 2013 by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris shows from left , the evolution of satellites designed to measure ancient light left over from the Big Bang that created our universe 13.8 billion years ago. Called the cosmic microwave background, this light reveals secrets of the universe's origins, fate, ingredients and more. The three panels show 10-square-degree patches of all-sky maps created by space-based missions capable of detecting the cosmic microwave background. The first spacecraft, launched in 1989, is NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE on left, the second satellite the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, centre, was launched in 2001 and the third satellite Planck, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. was launched in 2009,(AP Photo/ESA Planck Collaboration)

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New results from looking at the split-second after the Big Bang indicate the universe is 80 million years older than previously thought, but core concepts in physics about the cosmos -- how it began, what it's made of and where it's going -- seem to be on the right track. "We've uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe," said George Efstathiou of the University of Cambridge.
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    • George Efstathiou, a European Space Agency astrophysicist, in front of the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background acquired by ESA’s Planck space telescope. Efstathiou, who announced the Planck satellite mapping on Thursday, says the findings also offer new specificity of the universe’s composition.
    • The most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background acquired by European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope.
    • This image released on Thursday March 21, 2013 by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris shows from left , the evolution of satellites designed to measure ancient light left over from the Big Bang that created our universe 13.8 billion years ago. Called the cosmic microwave background, this light reveals secrets of the universe's origins, fate, ingredients and more. The three panels show 10-square-degree patches of all-sky maps created by space-based missions capable of detecting the cosmic microwave background. The first spacecraft, launched in 1989, is NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE on left, the second satellite the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, centre, was launched in 2001 and the third satellite Planck, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. was launched in 2009,(AP Photo/ESA Planck Collaboration)
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