Research NewsCosmology

Clouds Gather Over Deuterium Sighting

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Science  10 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5297, pp. 158-159
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5297.158b

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CHICAGO—Astronomers have withdrawn a dramatic claim made last year: that the early universe had 10 times more deuterium than other evidence suggested. Because the amount of this scarce hydrogen isotope created in the big bang is inversely related to the universe's total density of matter, the high levels, measured in a distant gas cloud, implied a surprisingly rarefied universe. But it now appears that the researchers may have misinterpreted the cloud's spectrum.