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Nearly 10,000 galaxies seen in one part of the sky by the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo: NASA/ESA/STScI

The universe is 13.77 billion years old, according to a new measurement taken using a powerful telescope in Chile.

Why it matters: The precise age of the universe is an important factor for scientists trying to understand the evolution and expansion of the cosmos.

What they found: The Atacama Cosmology Telescope made the measurement by looking at fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the glow left behind after the Big Bang formed the universe.

  • Researchers used the telescope to effectively create a triangle in the sky, measuring distances between the Earth and two points of interest in the CMB and then extrapolate the distance between the two points.
  • Because the universe is expanding, measuring distances gives scientists a sense for how quickly that change is occurring and therefore the age of the universe.
  • The new research is detailed in a study published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.

The big picture: Scientists have been mired in a debate about how fast the universe is actually expanding — a number known as the Hubble Constant.

  • Dating the universe to 13.77 billion years is in line with the age of the universe previously estimated using data from the Planck satellite, but other methods that measure the distances between stars have dated the universe as significantly younger.
  • "Now we've come up with an answer where Planck and ACT [Atacama Cosmology Telescope] agree," Simone Aiola an author of the study, said in a statement. "It speaks to the fact that these difficult measurements are reliable."

What's next: Scientists are continuing to gather data and double check their analyses in an attempt to resolve the Hubble Constant conflict.

  • "The growing tension between these distant versus local measurements of the Hubble constant suggests that we may be on the verge of a new discovery in cosmology that could change our understanding of how the Universe works," Michael Niemack, an author of the study said in the statement.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

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