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Scientists Taking The Temperature Of The Universe

Sat., Jan. 10, 1998

Astronomers taking the temperature of the universe say they have sampled heat from virtually every star that has ever shone, a discovery that will help refine theories about the evolution of the universe.

Using an instrument aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite, astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute measured the glow of infrared energy - or heat - in dust particles that were warmed by stars from almost the very beginning of the universe.

This primordial heat gives astronomers an idea of how much energy has been generated by nearly all of the stars formed since the Big Bang, said Michael Hauser, leader of the astronomy team.

Hauser said that starlight from very early in the history of the universe warmed dust particles and that this heat is preserved in sort of a “cosmic safety deposit box” and can be detected by a satellite instrument that was cooled to near absolute zero.


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