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Cosmic microwave background, Planck image

Cosmic microwave background, Planck image

C015/4548

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Credit

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY,THE PLANCK COLLABORATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY,THE PLANCK COLLABORATION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Cosmic microwave background. Whole sky Planck space telescope image of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the relic radiation from the Big Bang. This image shows light from when our Universe was only 380,000 years old. The CMB permeates the whole Universe in all directions. However, the temperature of the CMB radiation is not completely uniform. There are tiny variations, or fluctuations, which reveal the initial conditions of the Universe, the first seeds of the structures, such as galaxies, that we observe today. This map, the most detailed to date, shows an asymmetry in this fluctuation, and large cold areas (dark blue) that are not predicted by the standard model of physics. However, most of the data do fit with standard model predictions.

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