Is this the face of God?
Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 7:47PM
Vatche Sahakian in frosh, gravity, quantum, relativity

Is this the face of God? At least this is how this image was portrayed in the media when it was announced in 2000, described by some as the greatest scientific discovery in human history. The discovery process took roughly from 1965 to 2000, until physicists were finally able to pin down the details. The story goes as follows: About 14 billion years ago, the universe was at some point a small spec of hot opaque plasma plus dark energy (see my previous post about the dark side...). Because of the dark energy, space expanded violently and the plasma cooled down. At around 100,000 years since this initial explosion, the plasma condensed and became transparent, like milk turning into water. This image is an actual real picture of that moment of condensation, the deepest in space and time we are able to look. It is simply the closest we can get to imaging the beginning of time... The colors indicate temperature of the plasma, blue for colder, red for hotter. Every tiny temperature fluctuation ends up seeding stars and galaxies in the next 14 billion years as the transparent universe continues to expand. And here we are, miserable but a bit more enlightened.

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