Universe is about 13.8 billion years old, study confirms

According to new findings published recently by an international team of astrophysicists, the universe is around 13.8 billion years old.

While this estimate of the universe's age was previously known, additional scientific observations in recent years have revealed that the universe could be hundreds of millions of years younger.

The scientists examined a snapshot of the universe's oldest light to validate its 13.8 billion-year age.

The cosmic microwave background, or "afterglow" of the Big Bang, commemorates a time 380,000 years after the universe's formation when protons and electrons combined to form the first atoms.

According to a statement from Stony Brook University, obtaining the greatest snapshot of the baby universe helps scientists better comprehend the universe's origins, how we got to where we are on Earth, where we are headed, how the universe may end, and when that ending may occur.

"We're restoring the universe's 'baby photo' to its original condition, removing the wear and tear of time and space that has warped the image," said Neelima Sehgal, a co-author on the articles from Stony Brook University.

"We can only truly grasp how our universe was created if we see this crisper infant photo or image of the universe," Sehgal added.

The ACT captured a part of a new image of the universe's oldest light. This piece of the sky is 50 times the breadth of the moon, corresponding to a 20 billion light-years-wide region of space. The polarisation of light released 380,000 years after the Big Bang varies (represented by redder or bluer colors). Astrophysicists calculated a new estimate for the universe's age based on the spacing between these fluctuations. ACT Collaboration is to thank for this.


The new findings match the measurements of the Planck satellite data of the same ancient light by using observations from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) in Chile.

By measuring the universe's oldest light, the ACT team can estimate its age. Other scientific groups use galaxies to estimate the age of the universe.

According to Simone Aiola, first author of one of the new articles on the discoveries, "the research adds a fresh twist to an existing discussion in the astrophysics community concerning the age of the universe."

"Now we've come up with a solution where Planck and ACT agree," said Aiola, a researcher at New York City's Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics. "It demonstrates the accuracy of these tough measures."

The ACT research team is made up of scientists from 41 different universities across seven different nations.


The papers are available on the open-access arXiv.org and have been submitted to the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics:

  • The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: DR4 maps and cosmological results.
  • The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: A measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background power spectra at 98 and 150 GHz.

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