BALTIMORE, March 16 (UPI) -- Scientists peering back to the oldest light in the universe have new evidence for what happened within its first trillionth of a second.
And the evidence indicates at that instant the universe suddenly grew from submicroscopic to astronomical size, scientists said.
Using new data from a NASA satellite, scientists say they now have the best evidence yet to support the scenario known as "inflation."
The evidence from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite was gathered during three years of continuous observations of remnant afterglow light -- cosmic background radiation that lingers, much cooled, from the universe's energetic beginnings 13.7 billion years ago.
"It amazes me that we can say anything about what transpired within the first trillionth of a second of the universe, but we can," said Charles Bennett, WMAP principal investigator and a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "We have never before been able to understand the infant universe with such precision."
The WMAP results have been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal and are posted online at http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/results.