Music of creation is recorded by a time machine

Scientists have recorded the music of creation in an experiment using the astronomical equivalent of a time machine to go back to the origin of the Universe.

Scientists have recorded the music of creation in an experiment using the astronomical equivalent of a time machine to go back to the origin of the Universe.

A telescope suspended from a high-altitude balloon circling the South Pole has detected harmonic "notes", which rang out like a bell in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

Cosmologists believe these minute ripples of sound became the "seeds" of matter, which eventually led to the formation of stars, galaxies and planets such as Earth.

"Not only are we finding out the right notes of the Universe, we're finding what key it's in," said Phil Mauskopf of Cardiff University, the British team leader of the international Boomerang project to investigate the cosmic background radiation ­ known to be the "echo" of the Big Bang.

Paolo de Bernadis, of the University of Rome and joint leader of the Boomerang project, said the findings heralded a new era in the understanding of what happened during the moments when the Universe was created.

He said: "The early Universe is full of sound waves compressing and rarefying matter and light, much like sound waves compress and rarefy air inside a flute or a trumpet.

For the first time the new data show clearly the harmonics of these waves."

Andrew Lange of the Californian Institute of Technology, the other joint leader, said that before these latest findings, the Boomerang telescope had been able to detect only one harmonic note of the Big Bang. "Using a music analogy, we could tell what note we were seeing. Now we see not just one, but three of these peaks, and can tell not only which note but also what instrument," Dr Lange said.

The Boomerang experiment involves 36 scientists drawn from universities and research institutes in Britain, Canada, Italy and the United States. The latest results were released yesterday at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Washington DC. The Boomerang telescope, flying 120,000ft above Antarctica where atmospheric interference is negligible, collected data on the microwave radiation left over from the intense heat of the Big Bang some 12 billion to 15 billion years ago.

This microwave radiation was first detected in 1965, but it was not until 1991 that Nasa's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (Cobe) detected signs of any structure within the radiation field that could explain the origin of matter.

Boomerang has now deciphered the nature of these structures, or ripples in the microwave radiation, and results show they form a harmonic series of angular scales like a musical score. This is important because if the background microwave radiation was perfectly "smooth" and unperturbed, then it would be difficult for existing cosmological theories to explain how matter could coalesce under the influence of gravity into larger structures, eventually leading to the formation of stars and galaxies.

The findings are doubly important because they relate to the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang, when the Universe expanded from a minute point in space to something billions of times bigger, the so-called inflationary period.

Dr Mauskopf said: "These results are a tremendous confirmation of the inflationary model, and also agree extreme-ly well with measurements of other astronomers using completely different methods."

The Boomerang images cover 3 per cent of the sky and are the forerunners of a project to map the microwave background radiation using two satellites, the first of which is due to be launched this year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Support Assistant - Hampshire - up to 40K

£25000 - £40000 per annum + 23 days holiday Pension Scheme: Deerfoot IT Resour...

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

.Net Developer -London - up to 55K

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits : Deerfoot IT Resources Limited...

Long Term Primary Teacher - Oldham - Start September 2014

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Key Stage 1 Teache...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil