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IS THIS HOW IT ALL BEGAN? Scientists recreate universe 100,000 years after Big Bang

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Enticing clues as to what might have happened 100 years to 300,000 years after the Big Bang has been provided by a new scientific reenactment. Conducting an extensive analysis of the thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang, U.S. Researchers say that their analysis supports the theory that the Bang occurred between 13.798 and 0.037 billion years ago -- creating the known Universe.

LOS ANGELES, CA (NEWS CONSORTIUM) - U.S. researchers have conducted an extensive analysis of the thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang, also known as cosmic microwave background, or CMB radiation. The oldest light in the universe, the CMB is displayed in the high-latitude regions of the map.

"We found that the standard picture of an early universe, in which radiation domination was followed by matter domination, holds to the level we can test it with the new data," Eric Linder, a theoretical physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says.

"But there are hints that radiation didn't give way to matter exactly as expected," he added. "There appears to be an excess dash of radiation that is not due to CMB photons."

Present knowledge of the Big Bang and the early formation of the universe stems from measurements of the CMB, which are primordial photons set free when the universe cooled enough for particles of radiation and particles of matter to separate.

These measurements reveal the CMB's influence on the growth and development of the large-scale structure we see in the universe today.

Linder, working with Alireza Hojjati and Johan Samsing, analyzed CMB measurements to higher resolution, lower noise, and more sky coverage than ever before.

"With the Planck and WMAP data we're really pushing back the frontier and looking further back in the history of the universe, to regions of high energy physics we previously could not access," Linder said. The researchers used the latest satellite data from the European Space Agency's Planck mission and NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.

"While our analysis shows the CMB photon relic afterglow of the Big Bang being followed mainly by dark matter as expected, there was also a deviation from the standard that hints at relativistic particles beyond CMB light."

Showing the oldest light in our universe, the map detected with the greatest precision currently available. Called the cosmic microwave background, the light was imprinted on the sky when the universe was 370,000 years old.

Linder suggests the reason behind these relativistic particles are early versions of neutrinos, the phantom-like subatomic particles that are the second most populous residents of today's universe.
Another theory is dark energy, the anti-gravitational force that accelerates our universe's expansion. "Early dark energy is a class of explanations for the origin of cosmic acceleration that arises in some high energy physics models," he adds.

"While conventional dark energy, such as the cosmological constant, are diluted to one part in a billion of total energy density around the time of the CMB's last scattering, early dark energy theories can have 1-to-10 million times more energy density."

Linder believes early dark energy could have been the driver that seven billion years later caused the present cosmic acceleration.

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