Researchers, we are told, have overestimated the age of the universe by a billion years:
The lost time is especially vexing because, in a universe full of mysteries, its age has been viewed as one of the few near-certainties. By 2013, the European Planck space telescope’s detailed measurements of cosmic radiation seemed to have yielded the final answer: 13.8 billion years old. All that was left to do was to verify that number using independent observations of bright stars in other galaxies…
“It was getting to the point where we say, ‘Wait a second, we’re not passing this test — we’re failing the test!'” says Riess, co-author of a new paper about the research to be published in Astrophysical Journal.
He estimates that his results, taken at face value, indicate a universe that is only 12.5 billion to 13 billion years old. Corey S. Powell, “The universe may be a billion years younger than we thought. Scientists are scrambling to figure out why.” at NBC News
A billion years is a lot of wiggle room.
That said, from our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon: Another headline for the same news: The expansion rate from Planck (68 km/s/Mpc) doesn’t match the expansion rate from Hubble and other telescopes (74 km/s/Mpc). Extrapolating backward, Planck gives 13.7 bn years since Big Bang**, while Hubble gives 12 bn years. Briefly, this is the unmagnetized, 1-D, homogeneous, isotropic + inflation, Dark Matter, Dark Energy BB. Magnetic fields have the property of delaying the onset of decoupling seen by Planck, which is one of many reasons they don’t agree.
Who needs this stuff? There are enough real mysteries in cosmology out there. Didn’t we just see “Black holes vs. quantum mechanics = something has to give” whirling past?
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See also: NASA says the moon is shaking, shrinking We don’t even know enough about the moon.