Week in Geek: Our baby universe

By Summer Ash – Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:28 PM EDT

Rachel ended Friday’s show with a segment including a picture of the oldest light in the Universe. Since the Week in Geek skipped last week after this picture was released, I thought this would be good opportunity to explain it in detail. As Rachel said, the picture shows our “baby universe,” which in astronomer-speak is when the universe was 370,000 years old. That’s a frighteningly old baby by human terms, but an itty bitty one by the universe’s standards.

We actually can’t take a picture of the universe when it was any younger than this because prior to this point, the universe was so small and dense that photons kept bumping into electrons and weren’t able to travel freely until the universe grew and cooled enough for protons and neutrons to capture these electrons, thereby allowing the photons escape.

Thank you to the Maddow Blog for this article.



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