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Three Indian scientists played a role in mapping universe

New Delhi, March 24 , 2013 (PTI)

The most-detailed map of the universe created through the observations made by Planck space telescope has an Indian element to it.

Three Indian scientists-- Sanjit Mitra, Tarun Souradeep and their graduate student Aditya Rotti -- from the Inter- University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, were a part of the team.

On March 21, the most-refined picture of the early cosmos after the Big Bang, measured by the European Space Agency's Planck mission, was released in ESA headquarters, Paris.

The map suggests that the universe is slightly older than thought. According to the map, subtle fluctuations in temperature were imprinted on the deep sky when the cosmos was about 370,000-years-old.

Planck also provided the most-precise measurements to date of tiny variations in the universe's oldest light, called the cosmic microwave background (CMB), created more than 13 billion years ago when the universe was young---only a few hundred thousand-years-old, Sanjit Mitra told PTI.

These measurements allow exquisite estimates of the age, composition, geometry and fate of the universe.

Next release of such results, which will include the full dataset and further refinement in the analyses, is expected in 2014, he added.

"Based on a decade-long research programme at IUCAA, the Indian team made significant contribution in alleviating effects from the complex instrumental response, as well as, in the search for subtle violations of the cosmological principle that is a key fundamental assumption in standard cosmology," Mitra said.

The correction for complicated oddities of the instrument response has been critical for accurate estimation of key cosmological results from Planck data.

Planck is a space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA) and designed to observe the "anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background at a high sensitivity and angular resolution.

Planck was built in the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center by Thales Alenia Space and created as the third Medium-Sized Mission (M3) of the European Space Agency's Horizon 2000 Scientific Programme.

The project, initially called COBRAS/SAMBA, is named in honour of the German physicist Max Planck (1858–1947), who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.


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