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Finding the hypothetical particle axion could mean finding out for the first time what happened in the Universe a second after the Big Bang, suggests a new study published in Physical Review D on June 7.

How far back into the Universe's past can we look today? In the , observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background—commonly referred to as the CMB—allow us to see back almost 14 billion years to when the Universe cooled sufficiently for protons and electrons to combine and form neutral hydrogen. The CMB has taught us an inordinate amount about the evolution of the cosmos, but photons in the CMB were released 400,000 years after the Big Bang making it extremely challenging to learn about the history of the universe prior to this epoch.

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