European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA scientists have created the most detailed map of the universe to date. The map, called the Cosmic Microwave Background map, shows an ancient light that was implanted on the sky approximately 370,000 years after the Big Bang. The NASA/ESA map shows minuscule temperature variations that correspond to regions of different densities–regions that seeded our modern-day galaxies and stars.
The Cosmic Microwave Background map was produced as part of the NASA/ESA/Caltech Planck mission, which tests many of the key concepts of modern astrophysics. Despite the more media-friendly Mars Rover mission taking up NASA publicists’ time much more, Planck has made major discoveries. Since the project launched, scientists discovered that the universe is 100 million years older, and expanding more slowly, than previously believed.