For cosmology-lovers like me, yesterday was a full, busy day. The Planck telescope released its first full set of data, refining the estimates of the age of the Universe and its contents. I wrote two big pieces, one for Ars Technica and one for Galileo’s Pendulum.
- First Planck results: the Universe is still weird and interesting [Ars Technica]. “By comparing theoretical models to the real CMB, cosmologists determined that dark energy—the mysterious substance driving cosmic acceleration—comprises 68.3 percent of the energy content of the Universe, down slightly from earlier estimates of 72.8 percent. Similarly, dark matter’s contribution was boosted from 22.7 percent to 26.8 percent, while ordinary matter’s share went from 4.5 percent to 4.9 percent.”
- Planck results: our weird and wonderful Universe [Galileo’s Pendulum]. “The big news today is that our Universe is a little older than we thought, has a little more matter in it, and is every bit as strange as we’ve come to expect. Some numbers got shifted around a bit, but things are pretty much what we cosmology-watchers expected. It’s not a bad thing, in my opinion. After all, we still don’t know what dark matter is, we still don’t know what dark energy is, and we still don’t understand inflation completely. Adding weirdness to weirdness is probably more than our poor brains could take right now.”
Charlie Petit at the Knight Journalism Tracker also has a great round-up of articles on Planck, for those who want a more mainstream approach than my “techy” one (to use Petit’s term).