Evidence of major Big Bang found to be just interstellar dust

2 Feb 2015

The BICEP telescope at the South Pole. Image via Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

One of the biggest astronomical discoveries of last year that appeared to fundamentally prove the existence of the Big Bang event may have in fact just been a cloud of interstellar dust.

The team of astronomers who go by the name of Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarisation) made the discovery last March claiming that their equipment had detected the ‘smoking gun’ that appeared to show the gravitational waves created in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang which would be the first real concrete evidence for its existence.

According to The New York Times however, a new report published by the team jointly with another team of researchers called Planck, appear to show that one of the most incredible finds of recent years was in-fact totally wrong and was really the result of a large quantity of stardust.

The once-competing Planck team’s research into the gravitational waves was found to be much more detailed than those of the Bicep team measuring nine times as many frequencies in the area of space that the original team, which is much more capable of seeing through the dust.

Just one more thing…

The team whose telescope is based in the South Pole had been receiving criticism for their findings from the Planck team as far back as September last year, but this weekend the two teams prepared to release the joint statement confirming the original mistake.

One of the Bicep team members, DR Clem Pryke of the University of Minnesota, said in an interview with The New York Times about the rather large mistake, “We can’t say with any certainty whether any gravity wave signals remain. Obviously, we’re not exactly thrilled, but we are scientists and our job is to try and uncover the truth. In the scientific process, the truth will emerge.”

This potential trust is now being investigated with a number of scientists not giving up hope of finding evidence of the birth of our universe by studying the vast amount of cosmic background radiation left behind when the universe was as little as 380,000 years old.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic