The most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background
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Oldest light in universe revealed

The European Space Agency has released a series of pictures that could shed new light on the origins of the universe. The images from the Planck satellite map out the oldest light in the cosmos in great detail. Scientists believe the data may explain what happened in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang.

Dr Joanna Dunkley, an Oxford University astrophysicist who is involved in the project, told Today presenter Sarah Montague that "it's a picture of part of the Universe when it was only about 400,000 years old.

"The universe is about 14bn years old now, so that was a time when it was really a baby."

She explained that looking this far back in time can help scientists to "figure out what happened right at the beginning of the Universe, at the Big Bang itself".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 21 March 2013.