Scientists spent years looking at the Planck data, analyzing it. And what they found is pretty amazing:
- The Universe is 13.82 billion years old.
- The Universe is expanding a bit slower than we expected.
- The Universe is 4.9 percent normal matter, 26.8 percent dark matter, and 68.3 percent dark energy.
The Universe is lopsided. Just a bit, just a hint, but that has profound implications.
As a scientist, of course, I like it when we get better measurements, more detail, refined numbers. That’s how we test models, and it helps us understand our ideas better.
But I’m human, and a big part of my brain is still reeling from the fact that we can accurately measure the age of the Universe at all. We can figure out what’s in it, even when most of it is something we cannot see. We can determine not only that it’s expanding, but how quickly.
And best of all, we see that the Universe is doing things we still don’t understand. It’s showing us that there is still more out there, things occurring on so vast a canvas that it both crushes utterly our sense of scale and expands ferociously our imagination.
Every day, we get better at learning what the Universe is doing. And the work continues to find out how. It may even lead us to the answer of the ultimate question of all: why?
If that answer exists (if the question even makes sense), and we can understand it, then we are making our first steps toward it right now.
I still hear some people say that science takes the wonder out of life. Those people are utterly and completely wrong.
Science takes us to the wonder.
One other mystery unsolved.
And as far as anything bizarre goes? The fluctuations are still very, very much in agreement with what inflation and all known physics predicts, but there’s still that very bizarre alignment of the CMB on the largest angular scales with the plane of our Solar System, known as the axis-of-evil.
I’m keeping my banner which is still one of the most beautiful pics I’ve seen. Is it me, or does the Planck pic look like Earth? The oceans of time and space are bound by our hearts and mind, and we know our place in reality.