The universe is billions of years old, but new research suggests that it's a bit older than we all originally thought. According to the European Space Agency, who looked at the findings by its Planck space probe, the universe is actually around 80 million years older than previously expected, making it just over 13.8 billion years old now.
The Planck space probe's primary purpose is to scan the "cosmic microwave background" radiation spreading throughout the sky, which is leftover heat from the earliest moments of the beginning of the universe. Looking at data from the split-second after the Big Bang happened, scientists and astronomers have concluded that the universe is just ever so slightly older by around 80 million years.
The new findings mention a key theory called inflation, which states that the universe exploded from subatomic size to the massive size that it is now in just a fraction of a second. The Big Bang theory says that the universe as we know it today started out smaller than an atom, but exploded and expanded rapidly at a pace that was much faster than the speed of light.
The space probe studied the afterglow of the Big Bang and has recalculated the age of the universe, which now stands at 13.81 billion years old. The Planck space telescope was launched in 2009 at a cost of $900 million. It has spent 15 months so far mapping the sky and studying how our universe began. The telescope will stay in operation until later this year when it eventually runs out of cooling fluid.
[via Fox News/AP]