Friday, December 5, 2014

This Week's Sci-Light!

Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
Not many weeks ago, I blogged about a probe that landed on a comet and sent footage to Earth.  While that probe sits in the dark unable to recharge its batteries, we, still benefiting from the sun's rays, consider a larger subject--the universe.  Centuries of humans have stared into space marveling at the stars, the moon or distant planets.

European, US and Canadian scientists looked together into space using Planck (European Space Agency mission) instruments to measure the oldest light in our universe.   What they discovered was unexpected--the universe is older than they thought by 100 million years at 13.8 billion year old.

One of the US scientists participating in the project, Charles Lawrence from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, "As that ancient light travels to us, matter acts like an obstacle course getting in its way and changing the patterns slightly. "

A map of a patch of sky showing the temperature and polarization of microwave radiation emitted by dust swirling in the magnetic field of the Milky Way. Credit European Space Agency
Many links, photos, and videos on the project are housed on the NASA site and a new analysis outlined in the New York Times,  New Images Refine View of Infant Universe, by Dennis Overbye gives the vital statistics of the universe at birth--in essence the universe's baby picture. 

Fascinating how pictures of the universe can capture our imagination and fill us with awe like the ancients watching a flaming comet speed across the sky.  Whether your curiosity guides you to study the universe or the depths of the ocean or perhaps the intricacies of cell biology, human problem solving skills guided by inquiry and diverse perspectives are essential.  But not only in the field of science.  We need their application in our daily lives to inform how we see each other--we all matter.   So stay Sci-Curious and be continually surprise by what you'll learn and how you'll grow!
Credit: Walter Miles

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