Planck telescope: A map of all the ‘stuff’ in the cosmos

This is frakin sweet.

After Big Bang

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Europe’s Planck telescope, which last week showed us a picture of the oldest light streaming across the Universe, has another trick up its sleeve.

It has also mapped the distribution of all the matter in the cosmos.

This was done by analysing the subtle distortions in the ancient light introduced as it passed by the matter.

The effect is a direct consequence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity which tells us that space is warped by the presence of mass.

Prof Simon White likens it to the way light is bent as it passes through the lumpiness of an old glass window pane.

“If you know what you’re looking at outside, you can use the distortions to say something about the glass,” the Planck researcher said.

“There have been ‘gravitational lensing’ detections before over small areas, but this is the first time we’ve been able to…

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