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Random Facts about the Universe

By Yona Williams    9/29/12

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The 'universe' is the term used to define all of the things that exist, including the planets, stars, galaxies, as well as all matter and energy. In our quest to better understand the world and answer questions about mankind, the universe is at the center of everything. In this article, you will learn facts and trivia concerning the universe, such as Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang Theory

You've probably heard about the Big Bang theory … and it's not just a TV show. The theory is an explanation of one of the most commonly accepted concepts regarding the origin of the universe that astronomers have embraced. The main points of the theory focus on the emergence of the universe occurring after a huge explosion (referred to the Big Bang) that happened 15 to 20 million years ago. There are two observations that are used to back up the theory.

The first point was made by Edwin Hubble (1889-1953), who highlighted that the universe was expanding in a uniform manner. Objects that were farther away receded at greater velocities. The second point was that the Earth is affected by a radiation that suggests a hot primeval fireball was involved. It was Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson that first discovered the radiation. Many believe that the matter that followed the Big Band came together in large clumps. This is how the galaxies formed. The smaller clumps of matter within the galaxies formed stars. Other parts of a clump of matter are believed to have led to the formation of planets, which includes our Solar System.

The Big Crunch Theory

While not discussed as much as the Big Bang Theory, the Big Crunch Theory is the concept that at some point (and not until a very long time – not in your lifetime) all matter will reverse direction and crunch back into the single point from which it started.

The Age of the Universe

Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we have more information about the universe than ever before. For example, recent collected data has shed light on the age of the universe and has led some scientists to claim that the universe may only be 8 billion years old. In the past, the universe has been described as being somewhere between 13 and 20 billion years old. This figure originates from an earlier concept that the universe has been expanding at the same rate since the Big Bang occurred. This rate of expansion is a ratio referred to as Hubble's Constant. The rate is calculated by dividing the speed at which the galaxy travels away from the Earth by its distance from the Earth. The age of the universe is then calculated by inverting Hubble's Constant. A scientist will divide the distance of a galaxy by its recessional speed. Not all scientists are in agreement with the use of this calculation.

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