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Pie Chart content of the universe 13.7 billon years ago and today
Content of the Universe - Pie Chart

Warning! This graph will continue to change slightly as better and better data is collected This image is made with 5 year WMAP data. The final 9 year data produces a more accurate result.

WMAP data reveals that its contents include 4.6% atoms, the building blocks of stars and planets. Dark matter comprises 23% of the universe. This matter, different from atoms, does not emit or absorb light. It has only been detected indirectly by its gravity. 72% of the universe, is composed of "dark energy", that acts as a sort of an anti-gravity. This energy, distinct from dark matter, is responsible for the present-day acceleration of the universal expansion. WMAP data is accurate to two digits, so the total of these numbers is not 100%. This reflects the current limits of WMAP's ability to define Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

Credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team

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WMAP # 080998

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  • Page Updated: Monday, 04-08-2013