The infant universe, March 2006.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Image made by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Science Team at NASA. This detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe has been produced from three years of WMAP data; the result is a picture of the microwave radiation using temperature difference measured from opposite directions (anisotropy). It reveals 13.7 billion-year-old temperature fluctuations (shown as colour differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies - these show as 'warmer' (red) and 'cooler' (blue) spots. The white bars show the 'polarization' direction of the oldest light. This new information helps to pinpoint when the first stars formed and provides new clues about events that transpired in the first trillionth of a second of the universe.