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Hints of Structure Beyond the Visible Universe
from New Scientist
Colossal structures larger than the visible universe - forged during the period of cosmic inflation nearly 14 billion years ago - may be responsible for a strange pattern seen in the big bang's afterglow, says a team of cosmologists. If confirmed, the structures could provide precious information about the universe's earliest moments.
In the first instant after its birth, the universe is thought to have experienced a rapid growth spurt called inflation. During this period, space itself expanded faster than the speed of light.
Inflation solves some cosmological puzzles, such as why relic radiation from the big bang, released when the universe was less than 400,000 years old, is relatively uniform.
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Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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