News & Opinion | May 18, 2019 8:59 am

The Universe May Have Just Gotten a Billion Years Younger

Big questions about the Big Bang

The age of the cosmos is being reconsidered. (GettyImages)
The age of the cosmos is being reconsidered. (GettyImages)
UIG via Getty Images

If you’re not always accurate when determining ages, you’re in good company. Scientists now say  the universe is actually a billion years younger than previously thought, NBC News reports. According to new studies, the Big Bang that gave birth to the cosmos happened 12.5 billion years ago, not 13.8 billion years as previously believed based on detailed measurements of cosmic radiation by the European Planck space telescope.

But when teams of scientists set out to confirm that age, including one at the Space Scientific Institute in Baltimore led by Nobel laureate Adam Riess, the numbers didn’t track. “It was getting to the point where we say, ‘Wait a second, we’re not passing this test, we’re failing this test!,” Riess, co-author of a report about the research to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, tells NBC.

His results show that the universe is just 12.5 billion to 13 billion years old. “The discrepancy suggests that there’s something in the cosmological model that we’re not understanding right,” Riess says. Exactly what that “something” is is to be determined.

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