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Space Science

Study Finds Universe Is 100 Million Years Older Than Previously Thought 245

skade88 writes "Reuters is reporting that scientists now say the universe is 100 million years older than previously thought after they took a closer look at leftover radiation from the Big Bang. This puts the age of the Universe at 13.8 billion years. The new findings are the direct results from analyzing data provided by the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft. The spacecraft is providing the most detailed look to date at the remnant microwave radiation that permeates the universe. 'It's as if we've gone from a standard television to a high-definition television. New and important details have become crystal clear,' Paul Hertz, NASA's director of astrophysics, told reporters on a conference call."
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Study Finds Universe Is 100 Million Years Older Than Previously Thought

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  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:33PM (#43242619)
    It says right here in my textbook tha God created the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
  • YEC (Score:2, Funny)

    by Alsee ( 515537 )

    The universe is 100,006,000 years old!


  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:36PM (#43242649) Homepage Journal

    Lying about its age like that.

  • by TheCorporal ( 306071 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:36PM (#43242657) Homepage

    It should be 40 million years older with a margin of error of 50 million years. Ars article much more in depth if you want to know more. []

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:47PM (#43242739)

      Silly. Don't look at Ars. Look at the Planck papers.

      Will be on arxiv, too.

      This wasn't like going from regular tv to high def. This was like going from retina vision (wmap) to slightly more retina vision (planck). The age was reevaluated by a trivial 1%.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everything needs its proper scale. 100million appears large. But not so much when it is the difference between 13.7 and 13.8 billion years. That is less than 1%.

    Does the title "Universe is a tiny bit older than we thought" or "Less than 1% correction to age of Universe from new Measurements" capture as many headlines.

    On the scale of the age of the universe 100million really is not much at all.


    • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:14PM (#43242953)

      That's actually the really good news from all of this. The news articles are all highlighting the difference in numbers, when the real news is that this basically confirms that we were right all along. sure the numbers are slightly different for age of the universe, rate of expansion, and amount of matter, but all of the numbers are close to what we already knew. This is confirmation that our models are right, and more detailed data to refine things further.
      This is the way science works, and it's really good news!

    • To put this in perspective it's like a year is 2.67 days longer than it was before.

      • To put this in perspective it's like a year is 2.67 days longer than it was before.

        And your boss wants you to put in 2.67 days more work.

  • ... what was going on 1 attosecond BEFORE the big bang actually popped. I suspect there was leaking condom involved.

    • by Phics ( 934282 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:15PM (#43242955)

      The Great Green Arkleseizure sneezed.

      • The Great Green Arkleseizure sneezed.

        And of course, anyone who has dined at Milliway's know that there will not be a coming of the Great White Handkerchief. Heck, even the return of the Great Prophet Zarquon almost does not happen.

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @11:53PM (#43243177) Homepage

      No one knows. It's been stated that the farther you calculate back to the singularity, the math breaks down. It's quite possible that the universe is infinite in the true meaning of the word. That is to say, you can go all the way to the edge of the biginning of time, but never right up to it.

      Let that shred your noodle for a moment.

      • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:11AM (#43243277)

        More modern cosmological views tend to assume that there wasn't actually a singularity. There's a singularity in our current mathematical models of it --- but that's a problem with the models not having the right parts to describe the very early universe, not an indication that the universe was singular or even asymptotically approaching singular from positive time. The general "mental image" of the early universe as described by modern cosmologists like Stephen Hawking involves a transition from a region where the time dimension is no longer "special" in having a "forward-moving" direction --- in this part of the universe (which forms a smooth non-singular boundary edge to our flowing-time universe), the question "what came before?" no longer makes any sense, because there is no time direction for "before."

        That should provide you with even more noodle shredding than an asymptotically infinite universe :)

      • That's just a fancy way of saying that the universe always was (which gives support to other theories in turn; expand contract expand).

        Anyway. Anyone else feel like we should begin prefixing the universe now? "Ye Olde Universe."

  • Dammit! EVERYBODY lies about their age!
  • Bullshit (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The universe came into existence last Tuesday. You're almost as bad as the Last Mondayers, fucking heretics.

  • I'm going to hazard a guess that 50 years from now - we'll have better detection instruments set up that will change the age of the Universe dramatically.

    Just look back 50 years and see the change.

    • Or, this topic of research is reaching maturity where understanding of the fine details will increase, but no major upheavals in the basic parameters.

      From the Wikipedia page on "age of the universe":

      The first reasonably accurate measurement of the rate of expansion of the universe, a numerical value now known as the Hubble constant, was made in 1958 by astronomer Allan Sandage.[23] His measured value for the Hubble constant yielded the first good estimate of the age of the universe, coming very close to the value range generally accepted today.

      Between then and now, there was a fair amount of work put into searching for reasons why the universe wasn't about twice as old (coming from older models/observations), but the cutting-edge predictions pretty much settled down to where they are now (the speed of light or mass of the electron haven't changed radi

  • It's the dark matter that is still the key to all of this. Could this new data show some kind of structure to dark matter distribution in the early universe. Can Dark matter as WIMPs be generated as the result of high energy collisions more common at the beginning of the universe? From a press release it noted that "At the same time, some curious features are observed that don't quite fit with the current model. For example, the model assumes the sky is the same everywhere, but the light patterns are asymme
  • Big Bang is only a theory. As far as I know it is the theory with the most number of followers so it is assumed to be truer than others.

    I have a feeling the Deterministic school of thought which governs science is failing to answer the big questions. I am not saying the alternates available - religion and other other super natural stuff - is better, but we need a third model.

    And until a new model is found, lets collectively gasp at da big bang!!!
    • Re:Da Big Bang... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @03:30AM (#43243995)

      Big Bang is only a theory. As far as I know it is the theory with the most number of followers so it is assumed to be truer than others

      No, most evidence wins.

      • I believe that "theory" is a good label in this case. Given that currently we have several good clues but - as far as I know - no conclusive proof yet. As example, our universe may be just a bubble within an even larger universe, why not?

        PS: I do not intend here to "discredit" the theory of the Big Bang, just like to remember how important it is to avoid saying something is "undeniable truth" without absolute certainty that you're seeing all the variables involved.
    • Big Bang is only a theory.

      People who say "$foo is only a theory" probably need to go and look up what the word "theory" actually means...

    • And until a new model is found, lets collectively gasp at da big bang!!!

      I don't like this new theme song for the Leonard & Sheldon Show.

    • Re:Da Big Bang... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Friday March 22, 2013 @06:15AM (#43244569) Journal

      Theory does not mean "guess" or "hunch". If you say something in the scientific sense is "only a theory", you don't actually understand what scientific theory is. Electricity is "only a theory" too.

  • It must be a woman trying to shave off 100 million years on us like that.

  • 13.8 billion years?!? Wow you wear it well. I would have sworn you were not a day older than 13.7 billion years.
  • by Liambp ( 1565081 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @06:25AM (#43244605)

    How is this even newsworthy? 100 million years is less than 1% of 13.8 Billion years. Given how little of the Universe we have actually see so far the margin of error for any prediction like this has to be huge so a 0.7% change is meaningless.

    Over two thousand years ago Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth from measurements taken in the vicinity of ancient Egypt. Given the limitations of his measurements we are amazed that he managed to get an answer that is in the right ballpark. Depending on interpretation his calculation was wrong by between 2% and 16%. The age of the Universe is a much bigger problem and the amount of it we have seen to date is a much smaller proportion than Egypt was to the size of the World so I think it is fair to assume that even if all the key assumptions underlying this age of universe calculation are correct the margin for error is huge. Of course it is even more likely that something we don't know yet will render the entire calculation invalid.

  • The beauty of science is that old hypotheses are continually tested and new ones subjected to rigorous proofs, which then gives us the best available solutions. New means of observation and methods of analysis are always welcome.

    That being the case, it is a pity that so much attention gets focused on the storm troopers of the Empirical Empire, who are so uncomprehending of the scientific method as to thump their chests and loudly proclaim each new discovery as incontrovertible, absolute fact. The wise and h

  • by fa2k ( 881632 ) <[pmbjornstad] [at] []> on Friday March 22, 2013 @06:32AM (#43244641)

    Auto-play audio ad => instant close

  • The CENTRE of the range of values we accept for the age of the universe has shifted, but it has done so well within the 1-sigma boundary of the previous measurement's errors. What has really changed is the error bar is now considerably smaller.

  • It's been a while since I looked at big bang physics, but I seem to recall that time itself 'begins' at the big bang. Rather than it being like a clock that starts ticking at a constant rate, time itself begins to slow down (so the first few moments of the universe take a very long time, but the time itself is squashed up very tightly). There was no 'first second' - just a space-time singularity. (Apparent time would be infinite but take no time. Apparent space would be infinite but take no space).


    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      You could still measure the age of the universe as counted by of the oscillations of photons. It would be no universal clock, but at least it gives a good estimate.
      • Sique, IIRC the frequency of photon oscillation is proportional to their energy. It is the speed (not oscillation) of light which is constant - and speed depends upon distance, which (as mentioned) was infinite (but wrapped up tight) at the big bang.

  • that the universe is 100,005,300 years old according to Creationists?

  • Damn, I just finally got used to writing 2013 on everything too.

"We want to create puppets that pull their own strings." -- Ann Marion "Would this make them Marionettes?" -- Jeff Daiell