Origins of the Universe 101

The best-supported theory of our universe's origin centers on an event known as the big bang. This theory was born of the observation that other galaxies are moving away from our own at great speed in all directions, as if they had all been propelled by an ancient explosive force.

A Belgian priest named Georges Lemaître first suggested the big bang theory in the 1920s, when he theorized that the universe began from a single primordial atom. The idea received major boosts from Edwin Hubble's observations that galaxies are speeding away from us in all directions, as well as from the 1960s discovery of cosmic microwave radiation—interpreted as echoes of the big bang—by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.

Further work has helped clarify the big bang's tempo. Here’s the theory: In the first 10^-43 seconds of its existence, the universe was very compact, less than a million billion billionth the size of a single atom. It's thought that at such an incomprehensibly dense, energetic state, the four fundamental forces—gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces—were forged into a single force, but our current theories haven't yet figured out how a single, unified force would work. To pull this off, we'd need to know how gravity works on the subatomic scale, but we currently don't.

It's also thought that the extremely close quarters allowed the universe's very first particles to mix, mingle, and settle into roughly the same temperature. Then, in an unimaginably small fraction of a second, all that matter and energy expanded outward more or less evenly, with tiny variations provided by fluctuations on the quantum scale. That model of breakneck expansion, called inflation, may explain why the universe has such an even temperature and distribution of matter.

After inflation, the universe continued to expand but at a much slower rate. It's still unclear what exactly powered inflation.

Aftermath of cosmic inflation

As time passed and matter cooled, more diverse kinds of particles began to form, and they eventually condensed into the stars and galaxies of our present universe.

By the time the universe was a billionth of a second old, the universe had cooled down enough for the four fundamental forces to separate from one another. The universe's fundamental particles also formed. It was still so hot, though, that these particles hadn't yet assembled into many of the subatomic particles we have today, such as the proton. As the universe kept expanding, this piping-hot primordial soup—called the quark-gluon plasma—continued to cool. Some particle colliders, such as CERN's Large Hadron Collider , are powerful enough to re-create the quark-gluon plasma.

Radiation in the early universe was so intense that colliding photons could form pairs of particles made of matter and antimatter, which is like regular matter in every way except with the opposite electrical charge. It's thought that the early universe contained equal amounts of matter and antimatter. But as the universe cooled, photons no longer packed enough punch to make matter-antimatter pairs. So like an extreme game of musical chairs, many particles of matter and antimatter paired off and annihilated one another.

Somehow, some excess matter survived—and it's now the stuff that people, planets, and galaxies are made of. Our existence is a clear sign that the laws of nature treat matter and antimatter slightly differently. Researchers have experimentally observed this rule imbalance, called CP violation , in action. Physicists are still trying to figure out exactly how matter won out in the early universe.

The nickname for this cosmic object—the Sunflower galaxy—is no coincidence: The arrangement of the spiral arms in the galaxy Messier 63, seen here in an image from the Hubble Space Telescope, recalls the pattern at the center of a sunflower.

Building atoms

Within the universe's first second, it was cool enough for the remaining matter to coalesce into protons and neutrons, the familiar particles that make up atoms' nuclei. And after the first three minutes, the protons and neutrons had assembled into hydrogen and helium nuclei. By mass, hydrogen was 75 percent of the early universe's matter, and helium was 25 percent. The abundance of helium is a key prediction of big bang theory, and it's been confirmed by scientific observations.

Despite having atomic nuclei, the young universe was still too hot for electrons to settle in around them to form stable atoms. The universe's matter remained an electrically charged fog that was so dense, light had a hard time bouncing its way through. It would take another 380,000 years or so for the universe to cool down enough for neutral atoms to form—a pivotal moment called recombination. The cooler universe made it transparent for the first time, which let the photons rattling around within it finally zip through unimpeded.

We still see this primordial afterglow today as cosmic microwave background radiation , which is found throughout the universe. The radiation is similar to that used to transmit TV signals via antennae. But it is the oldest radiation known and may hold many secrets about the universe's earliest moments.

From the first stars to today

There wasn't a single star in the universe until about 180 million years after the big bang. It took that long for gravity to gather clouds of hydrogen and forge them into stars. Many physicists think that vast clouds of dark matter , a still-unknown material that outweighs visible matter by more than five to one, provided a gravitational scaffold for the first galaxies and stars.

Once the universe's first stars ignited , the light they unleashed packed enough punch to once again strip electrons from neutral atoms, a key chapter of the universe called reionization. In February 2018, an Australian team announced that they may have detected signs of this “cosmic dawn.” By 400 million years after the big bang , the first galaxies were born. In the billions of years since, stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies have formed and re-formed—eventually yielding our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and our cosmic home, the solar system.

Even now the universe is expanding , and to astronomers' surprise, the pace of expansion is accelerating. It's thought that this acceleration is driven by a force that repels gravity called dark energy . We still don't know what dark energy is, but it’s thought that it makes up 68 percent of the universe's total matter and energy. Dark matter makes up another 27 percent. In essence, all the matter you've ever seen—from your first love to the stars overhead—makes up less than five percent of the universe.

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the universe essay

The Universe is everything we can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. It includes living things, planets, stars, galaxies, dust clouds, light, and even time. Before the birth of the Universe, time, space and matter did not exist.

The Universe contains billions of galaxies, each containing millions or billions of stars. The space between the stars and galaxies is largely empty. However, even places far from stars and planets contain scattered particles of dust or a few hydrogen atoms per cubic centimeter. Space is also filled with radiation (e.g. light and heat), magnetic fields and high energy particles (e.g. cosmic rays).

The Universe is incredibly huge. It would take a modern jet fighter more than a million years to reach the nearest star to the Sun. Travelling at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take 100,000 years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone.

No one knows the exact size of the Universe, because we cannot see the edge – if there is one. All we do know is that the visible Universe is at least 93 billion light years across. (A light year is the distance light travels in one year – about 9 trillion km.)

The Universe has not always been the same size. Scientists believe it began in a Big Bang, which took place nearly 14 billion years ago. Since then, the Universe has been expanding outward at very high speed. So the area of space we now see is billions of times bigger than it was when the Universe was very young. The galaxies are also moving further apart as the space between them expands.

Story of the Universe

Situation Critical Fall 2016

the universe essay

Between Humans and the Universe: All We Have are the Connections We Make

What do we do with the universe.

“Wonder is the beginning of all wisdom,” says Aristotle in Metaphysics . “And looking into the starry sky is the beginning of wonder,” say I.

Andrew Yang starts his Interviews with the Milky Way by asking his mother, Ellen,

“ When you were a child, did you ever look up at the stars?”

For Ellen, childhood has long departed, as the moon has dyed all her hair. However, she answers with the greatest clarity,

“ Oh yes, oh yes,” she replies, “we were trying to see the milky way.”


Gazing into the sky and wondering about the universe is not an experience limited to any one generation. Andrew makes it clear that it is so profoundly shared by human beings that it almost becomes an instinct. Later in the interview, he talks about his daughter, Stella, who asks him since the outer space is above the sky, what is above the outer space.

The directional and intentional gaze into the night sky, then, is our first conscious encounter with the universe. Because of the gaze, the universe enters our sight and our mind. Now, it does not only objectively exist, but also exists to us .

In our galaxy, there are at least 100 billion stars. In an infant, hydrogen makes up 9.5% of its body weight, carbon, 18.5%, and oxygen, 65%. In A Beach and All Things Being Equal , we are educated of these pieces of information.


While it is true that wisdom starts with wonder, it does not end with wonder. Instead, we study and seek answers to our wonders. Just like Jeff, an astrophysicist says in Interviews with the Milky Way , “The most important thing you know about the universe is that, it is comprehensible.” That is, we can know about the universe.

After we gaze at things in the universe, we name them, analyze them, and attach information to the names. As a result, we pin the things down, and “know” the universe. In other words, things in the universe do not disappear or get lost as we move our eyes away, but are captured by us because we “know” them, just as Andrew makes a beach of 100 billion grains of sand, and just as he lists the chemical component of his daughter.

We Identify

In All Things Being Equal , tap water, rock sugar, canola oil, powdered L-Arginine, three oyster shells, baking powder and vinyl are placed in seven glass containers. According to a calculation next to the piece, these object and Andrew’s daughter, the new-born Stella share 99% of chemical elements.


In The Way Within , we see a table of objects ranging from a rock to a juice container, from a shell fish to a Ming lock, and from maple leaves to Lego pieces. All objects are mild in color, with pale turquoise on one side of the table, and blanched almond on another. When placed together, they display a surprising unity. At a point, you feel they are more similar than different because of their color, shape, size, and even the vibes they are giving out, and the distinction between “natural” and “man-made,” between “nature” and “culture” starts to seem arbitrary.


In Interviews with the Milky Way , Jeff agrees that he sometimes “thinks of himself as the Milky Way,” whereas Ellen calls the Milky Way “the ultimate life giving entity,” that is, a mother just like herself.

As we gather more facts and know more about the universe, we naturally form feelings about it and express them. Andrew’s art is one such example, announcing this sense of identification:

Our bodies are similar to the bodies of other galactic matters. Our products of culture are similar to the products of nature. We are similar to the universe.

All We Have are the Connections We Make

Andrew’s project walks us through what we do with the universe, from gazing, to knowing, to identifying. The underlying and overarching in all three becomes more evident as we go further. That is, they are all ways in which we connect with the universe, and one deeper than another.

By gazing, we connect. We stretch the invisible line between our eyes and the object, and realize not only we ourselves exist, other things in the universe, too, exist. That is, we share the time and space with objects in the universe.

By knowing, we connect. We use the human faculty to understand, so that objects reside in our minds as ideas. That is, we incorporate as part of us the objects in the universe.

By identifying, we connect. We acknowledge shared natures we have with objects in the universe. That is, we are the objects in the universe.

Andrew’s project not only reminds us of these connections, but also their importance. Being vast and grand, the universe does not intimidate us mortal beings. Instead, it empowers us. On the one hand, we are promised of knowledge, that we can know things beyond ourselves. Jeff says that because studying the universe makes him realize he is able to contemplate about things beyond himself and beyond people, it gives him a sense of “wellbeing.” On the other hand, we are assured of company, that we are not the lonely powerless beings, but have connections to something eternal. Ellen says that when she dies, rather than going to the heaven, she would prefer to be attached to a star, and that would make her “feel better.”

In other words, through the connections with the universe, we are able to obtain knowledge and feel that we belong, both conducive to happiness. And happiness, according to Aristotle, is the ultimate human end.

To Connect, to Connect Deeper

The project, however, is not just a reminder. Instead, it encourages, and even urges us to actively make these connections ourselves because these connections do not necessarily come naturally. As Ellen remarks, “Where I lived the sky was clear. You could see stars. But when [Stella] looks into the sky, she sees something entirely different than I did at the same age.” Andrew addresses the issue that light pollution denies access to the night sky from urban dwellers, and creates A Beach to “substitute” the Milky Way. The installation of seven tons of sand, although of course not the Milky Way, pushes the urban dwellers who go into the dim room filled with white noise to think of the Milky Way, and identify with the Milky Way.

Also, Andrew is inspiring his audience to make deeper connections with the universe. Whereas science gathers facts and data, art arouses human emotions, thus striking directly at the core of human soul. With science, we can know the chemical component of a human infant and of the inanimate objects in the universe. However, when Andrew juxtaposes the two in All Things Being Equal , he sets the example that art brings the connection of “knowledge” to the higher level of connection, that is the connection of “identification,” leaving a stronger impression and impact on the audience.

The project is utterly beautiful. I have often wondered why at the moments when we look up into the sky, when it cannot be clearer that we are small and we are mortal, we rarely feel worthless. Andrew seems to be providing this poetic answer: Through a gaze, and starting from the gaze, we make connections with the universe. We become part of it, we get to know it, and we become it. Saved by a gaze, we are not at all small, not at all mortal, and not at all worthless.


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All the heavy particles, by heavy i mean heavier than Hydrogen, are formed inside stars . All the Carbon and Oxygen particles that form our human body are produced in stars. We have this natural connection . We are the product of star fusion.

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That’s fascinating :3

Thank you for sharing

We are made of stars, so please shine.

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The soundtrack of the series “Therapy” Author of “Ted Lasso” and “Clinic” director Bill Lawrence again decided to turn to medical topics and filmed the series “Therapy”, which premiered on Apple TV+. Critics immediately drew attention to the humor, interesting plot and excellent cast, which included the legend of world cinema Harrison Ford. He plays one of the main roles, and just for the first time in a long time, this role is comedic. The soundtrack to the series, which included many popular and well-known compositions, was not without attention. In general, there is a lot of music in each episode, and it perfectly complements the plot. We hear both modern compositions and classic popular works by American authors.

Your critique is stunning. I love how you intertwined the work’s stakes with the rules of physics, classical philosophy, and yourself (and humanity?). Your emphasis on connection was particularly powerful. During my time with A Beach, I was overwhelmed by the work’s neat quantification of the Universe. But your emphasis on connection speaks to both wonder and intimacy. Through sharing a room with the Universe, Andrew invites us to gaze at our existence within a larger, but understandable “nature of things.”

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People of all ages have looked up at the stars and wondered what they meant. Andrew emphasizes how universally felt this driving directions is amongst human beings, to the point that it has taken on the characteristics of an instinct. Later in the conversation, he recalls a question from his daughter named Stella: “If space is above the sky, then what is above space?”

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Your post made me think about the film in the MCA by Camille Henrot ( ), running concurrently with the exhibition by Yang. Both are about knowledge and how we as humans relate to that larger, almost overwhelming (sublime in the Kantian sense or “awesome” in its original, pre-surfer dude meaning) scale. One sees the interests of Joey Orr as curator here. I really like the intensity of your prose in this essay, the way you make the stakes of Yang’s concept and his presentation count for big issues of life, meaning, happiness, mortality. Here’s one thing I wonder too: is there also a bit of humor in Yang’s work? A sweet kind of funniness? Prof. Kramer

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Lovely essay. The mystery of the universe continues with an ever-present wonder. This is the only way it will ever be for humankind. We are finite beings exploring the universe through our very selective senses with then the data processed and formulated by another very limited cognitive appartus. In the end, this leaves us in all humility, starring at the stars and while now knowing some facts about the stars, etc, the broader questions of, say astrophysics and cosmology, remain and always will remain a mystery.

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Lovely …. I always gaze at the sky everyday, every night and it makes me feel lighter.

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Essay: The Universe

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Abstract The universe is a known place to our young and sensitive eyes. Stars galaxies, planets, comets, asteroids are part of this abundant place that has an end of 13. 8 billion years to us. The age of the universe was known by studying the oldest objects within the universe, which can be studied using binary system or the HR Diagram. Knowing how fast the universe is expanding can be done by knowing how close and far are objects from us and their velocity towards or away from our galaxy. Finally we can know the observable universe by knowing how light and light speed works and travels in space. Introduction What is in the universe? Galaxies, planets, stars, comets, asteroids, and much other chemical composition ‘stuff’ are part of the universe. We are not able to see the entire universe but just the observable part of it. The observable universe is a term referring to the volume of space that we are physically able to detect, it can be defined as what we are potentially able to see, is there more? That is unknown to our eyes. The universe is 13.8 billion years old to us this is until what our eyes can see. The age of the universe was known because of these main reasons, one, by studying the oldest objects within the universe and second, by measuring how fast the universe is expanding, but the one and most important is knowing how light and light speed works and travels in space. Main body Studying the oldest objects within the universe Many countless objects are part of the universe having each a different birthday, one year, ten years and up to a billion years of age. Studying the age of the objects in the universe has some work attached to it. The life cycle of a star is based on its mass (Redd). We can know that if a star is bright it has a bigger mass causing it to have a longer life cycle. Measuring the mass of a star is easier when using a binary system. Binary system is when two (bi) start orbit around each other. By measuring the orbital speed the orbital period and the size of the orbit we can get to know the mass of both the stars. Another easy method to know the mass of the star and therefore the age of it is using the H-R diagram. Depending where the star is in the H-R diagram we can know the mass and therefore its age. Therefore an example can be, if we want to know the age of star ‘A’ and star ‘B’ we first measure the speed, the orbital period between star ‘A’ and star ‘B’, the size of the orbit and we get to know the mass both. The stellar mass is the mass that we have been using and continue to use in order to know determine the age of a star. Hertzsprung’Russell diagram One of the most useful and powerful plots in astrophysics is the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (hereafter called the H-R diagram). It originated in 1911 when the Danish astronomer, Ejnar Hertzsprung, plotted the absolute magnitude of stars against their colour (hence effective temperature). Independently in 1913 the American astronomer Henry Norris Russell used spectral class against absolute magnitude. Their resultant plots showed that the relationship between temperature and luminosity of a star was not random but instead appeared to fall into distinct groups (Australia). This diagram has several different representation one of which is called the observational Hertzsprung- Russell diagram or color-magnitude diagram (CMD). What this diagram does is that when stars are at the same distance it compares the color, using the color index which can state which star is more luminous. Therefore once we are able to know which star is more luminous we can determine it age. How fast the universe is expanding For a fact we know that stars die but there are some stars that live longer than other and by discovering how old is one star and them discovering that another star is older we have come to know that they may not be the limit and by looking more in to it we may find older objects. The universe is expanding every day away from us and towards us. Galaxies and stars are moving and we can know if a star is close to us, away from us or if it is moving closer or farther away from us. Knowing the wavelength range by using infrared light can answer us where are the stars standing now and once we know where the stars are know we can know their color and therefore their age. Farther stars and galaxies are moving way faster from us that does closer stars and galaxies, this is due to the young age they have which allows them to move in a faster rate. Light The speed of light is what determines our possible visibility of the universe. The speed of light is defines as C= the speed of light= 300,000km/s or 3.0 * 10^8 m/s. A light year is the distance traveled in one year. If you see a star that is 40 light years away, you are seeing it as it was 40 years ago. Thus the deeper you peek into space, the farther you are seeing back in time. Any event that happened beyond a certain point in the past is unknowable to us if the signal from it hasn’t had time to reach us (Observable universe). We can see up to objects that are 13.8 billion light years away from us because 13.8 billion light years is our visible limit. For that reason the universe that old, and there may be more but it has not yet reached our eyes. Conclusion Human beings have a limit of the visibility of the universe. The universe to our yes is enormous with all different stars ‘stuff’ that are part of it. Our eyes and our telescopes can only see back to 13.8 billion years. The light has traveled to us in a speed of 13.8 billion light years, and has not yet seen more. We do not have knowledge of how old or what is beyond what we see, this will be known in several billion years more, if they are to come.

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Universe: essay on our universe | geography.


Here is an essay on ‘ Our Universe’ for class 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Our Universe’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Our Universe

Our Universe contains 176 billion (one billion = 100 crores) constellations (group of stars) and each constellation includes hundreds of billion stars. Universe consists, constellation, in which Sun exists, is so big that from the core of constellation, light takes around 27 thousand years to reach up to sun. The solar system which is part of Milky Way galaxy is in disc-shaped spiral form.

Essay # 1. Sun:

Sun rotates round its axis from West to East. About 99.85% mass of solar system lies with sun only whereas planets constitute – 0.135%, comets – 0.01%, satellites – 0.00005%, dwarf planets – 0.000002%, shooting stars – 0.0000001% and inter planetary medium consists of 0.0000001% of the rest of mass.

Sun is not stationery and completes one rotation round its own axis in 25 days. One rotation of sun takes 25 days (of Earth) if observed from the equator while if we observe it from its poles, each rotation of sun takes 36 days. The rotation of sun was observed by Galileo first of all.

Sun is source of light, heat, energy and life on our Earth. Normally looking pale, this spherical ball of fire has 13 lakh multiples more volume than that of Earth and 3.25 lakh times more weight. Pressure of gaseous material on its centre is 200 billion multiples more than the pressure of air, Earth experiences while density of gases is 150 times more than that of water. Temperature of sun is 50 lakh degrees Kelvin (one Kelvin is equal to one degree on Celsius scale).

Hydrogen in form of Plasma turns into Helium at this temperature. This fusion gives birth to energy. The quantum of such produced energy may be imagined from the fact that fusion produced energy in one second is more than as much mankind has used on Earth till date. This fusion is continuous process on the surface of Sun.

Gravity of Sun is 28 times more than that of earth and black spots visible on sun are actually very powerful magnetic regions. Each magnetic regions of sun is more than 10 thousand times more powerful than magnetic power of Earth. Actual size of each black spot may be lakhs of square kilometers. Temperature at photosphere of sun is only 6000° Kelvin while ends of chromospheres experience it 10 thousand degree.

At corona this temperature varies from 10 lakh Kelvin to 50 lakh Kelvin. Continuous winds blow at the surface of sun at speed of 800 to 900 kilometer per second and these may prove dangerous for Earth at times. These winds have their fatal effect on Ionosphere. Solar storms disturb communication system on Earth. Many a times, power grids get destroyed or seized because of disturbance at the surface of Sun.

Optical telescope at Udaipur and Kodyekanal along with Radio telescope at Pune keep continuous watch over happenings related to Sun.

Essay # 2. Planets:

Planet is a Greek word which means, Wanderer. All the planets are spherical and are total eight in number.

We can group these planets in two, that is:­

a. Inner Planets:

Inner planets are those planets which are nearer to sun as compared to others. Secondly their relief constitution includes rocks and metals. These planets are known as terrestrial planets also. Namely these planets are; Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars.

b. Outer Planets:

Outer planets are beyond asteroids and are constituted of gases, popularly known as Gas Giants. These are; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The planets do not have any light of their own but these illuminate by reflecting sunlight and are visible at night. In the sequence of their distance from sun, these may be retented from initial alphabets of words in this sentence; My Very Efficient Mother Just Served Us Nuts.

i. Mercury:

This planet is not only smallest one but also lies closest to Sun. It does not have atmosphere of its own and is engulfed by blasts taking place because of Sun. Its core is made of iron and has this part larger than crust.

It is presumed that this crust reduced due to some comet accident. Mercury lies some 579 million (57crore 90 lakh) kilometer away from Sun and its average temperature varies between 420°C during day to -180°C at night.

It completes its revolution around Sun in 88 days while takes 58 days and 16 hours to complete its one rotation on its axis. Galileo founded Mercury in 1631 which has no satellite.

This is a rocky celestial body like Earth and second planet if counted serial vise from Sun. It completes its revolution round sun is 224.7 days while takes 243 long days to complete its rotation round its own axis from East to West.

All the other planets rotate around their axis from West to East. This hottest planet is second most glittering celestial body, first being the Moon. Also known as sister planet of Earth, Venus resembles to it in shape, size and gravity.

It has a number of volcanoes just like Earth and its surface has been formed because of volcanic eruptions. Its atmosphere consists of Carbon dioxide (96.5%) and Nitrogen. That is why it is called ‘Veiled planet’ also. Venus lies nearly 1082 million kilometers away from Sun.

iii. Earth:

Our mother planet’s name has not been derived from Greek or Roman language but from old English and Germanic. According to International Astronomical Union (IAU) biggest among Inner planets, Earth is only planet which has Geological activity taking place in its core.

Its atmosphere is also quite different to that of other planets as it consists of 77% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen which gives it a name of ‘blue planet’. Earth is only planet where life exists. Situated nearly 14.96 crore kilometers away from sun.

The earth completes a rotation round its axis in 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds (approximately 24 hours) while to revolve around the sun, it takes 365 days 5 hours and 48 minutes. It has a satellite named Moon.

Known as the Red Planet, Mars is fourth planet of our solar system as counted from Sun. Its soil has very rich iron content and because of Ferrus content it looks red. As far its rotation on axis is concerned, it has similarity with Earth and it supports various seasons also.

Mars is a cold planet which has thin atmosphere. Its one rotation on its axis is completed in 24 hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds while its revolution against sun takes 687 days. Having two satellites, Mars is placed around 2279 lakh kilometer away from sun.

The success of India to plant its Orbiter in orbit of Mars in its just first attempt has made it a pioneer and an exceptional one. Mars is only planet other than Earth which has ice-caps on its poles which have been named as Planum Boreum (North Pole) and Planum Australe (South Pole) or Southern Cap. The spacecraft that reached in the orbit of Mars is named 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM).

v. Jupiter:

First beyond the Asteroids, Jupiter is fifth planet of our solar system and is the biggest planet. This planet is one of the Gas Giants and has 1280 kilometer wide atmosphere composed of gases like Methane, Ammonia, Hydrogen and Helium.

It revolves around the sun in anti-clockwise direction and completes one revolution in 12 years. Its rotation on its axis is very fast and completes one in just 10 hours causing severely blowing winds.

These winds look like multi-coloured cloud belts. Jupiter is tilted on its axis at 3.1° and has more than 60 satellites. Most of the satellites are unknown for mankind as far information about them is concerned.

vi. Saturn:

The sixth from sun and second largest planet in solar system is Saturn. Situated some 1,431 million kilometers (More than 143 crore km) away from Sun, it is constituted of iron and nickel principally. Completing its rotation on its axis in 10 hours and 41 minutes, it makes one revolution around Sun in 29.5 years.

Its swift rotation gives rise to winds at the speed of 1800 kilometers per hour. Speed of winds on Saturn is higher than that on Jupiter but lesser than that on Neptune. There are nine rings around Saturn which from three arcs around it. These rings are made of frozen ice and rocks. It has around 62 satellites and biggest among them is Titan which is almost double the size of Moon. The atmosphere of Titan is thicker than that of Earth.

vii. Uranus:

This is seventh planet of our Solar System and third largest planet. Its size is 63 multiples bigger than earth but in weight it is only 14.5 multiples than that of Earth. Constituted of gases, Uranus has coldest atmosphere as compared to all the planets and has an average temperature of 223°C. Many layers of clouds are found on Uranus.

Higher cloud formation consists of Methane gas while lower formation consists of water. Speed of winds on this planet is 250 meters per second while it is tilted at 97.77° on its axis. Revolving round sun in anti-clockwise direction, it completes one revolution in 84 years while for completing one rotation around its axis, it takes 10 hours and 48 minutes.

viii. Neptune:

Neptune resembles to Uranus as seen in the Solar System. But it is smaller than Uranus and its surface is more condense. Presence of Methane gas makes it look green. Winds blow at speed of 2100 kilometers per hour in the atmosphere of this planet.

The planet consists of around 900 full circles and various incomplete arcs. Situated approximately 4,498 million kilometer away from Sun, it completes one rotation its axis in 16 hours and a revolution around sun in 164.8 years. Neptune has 13 satellites while Triton and Neried are two main satellites.

There are various dwarf planets in our solar system, out of which only five have been recognised.

1. Pluto (Earlier know as ninth planet, was declared dwarf in August, 2006)

4. Make make

Essay # 3. Satellites:

Satellites are of two types, manmade and natural. Satellites are actually celestial objects that revolve around some other celestial object. Natural satellites rotate on their axis also. They neither have atmosphere nor light of their own but due to reflection of sunlight, they look illuminated.

Manmade satellites are made of aluminium or plastic and are hardened with help of carbonic sheets. They travel at the speed which is 10 to 30 multiples more than that of an aircraft. Humankind has been benefitted extremely by manmade satellites in fields of telecommunications, weather forecasting, geological activities and atmospheric activities among other fields. India fired its first satellite named Arya Bhatt in 1975 and since then, we have sent more than 75 satellites into the orbit.

Moon is natural satellite of our Earth. It is around 3,84,403 kilometers away from Earth and takes 27.3 days to complete its revolution around Earth. As yet mankind has touched only this celestial body i.e. Moon on 21st July 1969. Atmosphere of Moon is so thin that it weighs only 104 kilograms and gravity is only one sixth part of the gravity of Earth.

Essay # 4. Asteroids or Planetoids:

These are too smaller than planets of Solar System but bigger than Asteroids. These celestial bodies revolve round the sun in anti-clockwise direction. These rocky bodies are numerous and most of these are concentrated between Mars and Jupiter. Five of them namely Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, Hypiea and Euphrosyne have been recognised. European Space Agency has found water vapour on Ceres on 22nd January, 2014.

Essay # 5. Comets:

The word comet is derived from Latin word ‘Stella Cometa’ which means ‘hairy star’. These celestial bodies were part of sun earlier and are made of frozen gases, ice and small rocky substances. Head of comet is 16 million kilometers in diameter and is followed by cloud of misty substance looking like a tail.

This tail is also lakhs of kilometer long. Tail is never towards sun facing side of comet and shines with rays from Sun. Comet which passed through Solar System was first seen in 1705 and it passes close to sun after every 75.5 years. English scientist Edmond Halley founded it and it was therefore named Halley’s Comet.

Comets are being traced regularly. Their total number was 5,186 in August, 2014. Halley’s Comet was seen in 1910, then in 1986 and next it shall be sighted in 2062. Nucleus of Halley’s Comet is 16 x 8 x 8 kilometers and it is the darkest object in solar system. This comet is periodical one and may be sighted at specific intervals but all the comets are not periodical.

Essay # 6. Meteors or Meteorites:

One can see a streak of star light in the sky sometimes, it gives an impression that any part of star has broken away. These are actually meteorites. Parts of meteorites that remain unburnt and reach our Earth in small parts are named as meteorites.

When these enter the atmosphere of Earth, burn out immediately and vanish in shape of ash most of times. A part of Arizona desert in U.S. is known to have come into form due to striking of some meteor. There are, however, various principles about formation of meteors. Some thinkers part them parts of planet which has vanished while others say these are parts of Sun, Earth and Moon only.

Indian Museum at Kolkata is known for preserving remains of meteors. Biggest such museum in Asia, it has 468 meteor parts. Their study has concluded that meteors are made of metals like iron, nickel, aluminium, oxygen and tin.

These get attracted towards Earth because of gravity of Earth. On April 21, 2013 a meteor shower was observed in many parts of the world in which more than 20 shooting stars were seen within an hour. This shower is known as Orionid Meteor Shower. Such wonderful sights are very common in our solar system.

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The core of the star begins to cool and the stars collapse inside. Unfortunately, according to scientists, our Sun will also burn out completely in 6 billion years. All these facts and other data about the stars and space are available to us mostly thanks to telescopes. Today, there are seven complexes that have telescopes with a mirror diameter of more than eight meters. The largest of them is located in the Atacama Large Millimeter Research Center Array in Chile. The biggest telescope in the world is made up of 66 radio telescopes with diameters from seven to twelve meters. They are all combined into a single device that has an incredible resolution and can capture objects in the depths of the early Universe, where the galaxies were formed billions of years ago. In the nearest future, we expect to see the construction and introduction of telescope tools with a primary mirror diameter of 30 and 39 meters. So, the biggest star records are still to be set. Who knows what other secrets our Universe will tell us and whether all her secrets can be revealed at all. On the other hand, the most important thing is what we want to know and what we actually need: to disclose all mysteries, classify all-stars, systems and galaxies and mark the accurate space borders or fascinate the very process of finding out new information about how our Universe works.

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Ralph Lewis M.D.

Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Why we insist it does, and why it's okay that it most probably doesn't..

Posted  May 6, 2019 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

Jacob Dyer | Unsplash

“Does the Universe Have a Purpose? I hope so." —Elie Wiesel 1

People ask: “Does the universe have a purpose?” But they're really asking: “Is there a higher power that created everything, including me, for a higher purpose?” People worry that if the universe doesn’t have a purpose, neither do we.

Belief in a purposeful universe is pervasive, and not just among conventional religious believers. It’s a belief also typically shared by “ spiritual but not religious ” people who may not even believe in the kind of god with whom one can have a personal relationship.

The seeming improbability of a spontaneous, unguided universe 2

There are even some very reputable scientists with strong religious or spiritual beliefs in a higher power and higher purpose (though the great majority of top scientists today are non-believers). One of the most famous exemplars is Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and previously the leader of the Human Genome Project, who has explained:

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?" 3

As a young man, overcome with awe by the site of a magnificent frozen waterfall while hiking, Collins “knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.” 4 The frozen waterfall was divided into three streams, which for him represented the Holy Trinity.

To be sure, for many deep thinkers there have been quite sound and intelligent reasons for believing that the universe was designed and created by a higher power with a higher purpose. Until fairly recent times, it was hard to fully explain in purely scientific terms how the immense complexity of the world could have arisen entirely spontaneously and unguided. And, as Collins put it, why the laws of physics appear fine-tuned.

Stephen Hawking, in his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time , was one of the first scientists to draw popular attention to the fine-tuning enigma:

The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron . . . . The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. 5

A spontaneous, unguided universe is in fact fully plausible

But Hawking also came up with natural explanations for the fine-tuning enigma, as have many physicists and cosmologists (among others, the respected physicist and philosopher Victor Stenger wrote several popular science books on the subject). 6

In the realm of biology, 160 years of extensively detailed science in evolutionary biology since Darwin published On the Origin of Species has left no doubt that the complexity of living organisms, including Homo sapiens, could indeed have arisen without even a whiff of prior purpose or design. 7 Moreover, biological evolution (which is far better understood than the origins of the universe) is utterly incompatible with any kind of foresight or planning. Sure, it’s still possible to believe that a higher power with a higher purpose operates surreptitiously behind it all, using evolution as a means to creation, making it all just appear spontaneous and unguided. But given everything we now know about how evolution proceeds, a god who uses evolution to create living creatures can only be thoroughly cruel or indifferent, as well as inefficient, tinkering, and bungling. So even if one bought into the notion that a deity fine-tuned the universe, such a god self-evidently has little regard for the well-being of living creatures including us, and there is abundant evidence for lack of benevolence. 8

What about the mystery of consciousness? Does it point to a supernatural designer and a spiritual realm? At first consideration, consciousness seems especially enigmatic and impossible to explain in its complexity and its nonmaterial quality. The field of neuroscience is at a much earlier stage of development than evolutionary biology (though it’s advancing in leaps and bounds), but neuroscientists see no rational reason to believe that evolution stops at the neck and to invoke mysticism in explaining the mind-brain question. We already have some inkling into how something as complex as the human mind and the subjective conscious self-awareness it produces can indeed be the product of blind unguided evolution from mere matter (as I have described in several previous blog posts 9 ).

Values in a purposeless universe

Another question that stumps many people is how to explain or anchor values and ethics in a material, unguided universe. Many do not understand how morality could have emerged and evolved at all, or at least in a coherent manner, in a universe without a higher power and higher purpose. They erroneously assume and fear that human societies in a purposeless universe would be devoid of purpose, meaning, and morality. I have written about this elsewhere (see 10 ).

In actual fact, for a variety of reasons, the less strong a society’s belief in a higher power and higher purpose is, the more cooperatively interdependent it tends to be. Highly secular democracies are far ahead of nations of religious believers on the path toward creating more peaceful, compassionate and flourishing societies.

Our human brains are predisposed to believe that the universe has a purpose

“Frankly, I am psychologically incapable of believing that the universe is meaningless.” —Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University 11

The assumption that there must be some sort of higher purpose to life and the universe fits with an intuitive human tendency to think that “ everything happens for a reason ” (and it’s all about us). This intuition derives from our being intentional agents. We usually have reasons for the things we do, and we assume that others do too. We are exquisitely adept at perceiving agency and intention in other living creatures. We evolved this way to detect predators and prey and to cooperate with other humans. We infer intention so adeptly that we have a habit of over-attributing agency or purpose even to inanimate objects and random natural occurrences. Our intentional stance leads us to believe that the universe itself has a purpose, inferring it to be the product of a deliberate, creative designing agent—an agent just like us, only immensely more powerful. This also fits with our natural tendency as social animals to defer to higher authorities like parents and leaders and to seek direction for how we should live our lives.

Our human sense of purpose is not dependent on the universe having a purpose

The universe is highly unlikely to have a purpose, but humans have evolved to be highly purpose-driven. Our human sense of purpose is neither derived from nor dependent on the universe having a purpose.

Once we get over our childlike wish to be told what “the” purpose and meaning of life is, we see that meaning is something that we make, not made for us. There are many meanings of life that we make for ourselves, and we discover that we have evolved the capacity to do so very proficiently despite the universe being fundamentally random. We accept that the responsibility to define purpose, meaning, and morality is all ours; it is not handed down to us from on high .

Underscoring our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another

Carl Sagan said it best, reflecting on the significance of a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from about 6 billion kilometers away. Our planet appeared in the photograph as a tiny distant pale blue pixel against a reflected band of sunlight. The picture famously became known as the Pale Blue Dot . Here's Sagan:

Wikimedia Commons

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives . . . . Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light . . . . There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

1. Wiesel was answering one of The John Templeton Foundation’s Big Questions (series) posed to leading scientists and scholars: “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?”

2. Parts of this article are taken from: Ralph Lewis, Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even If The Universe Doesn’t (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2018). The book is a deeper dive into questions of purpose, meaning and morality in a random, purposeless, godless universe.

See this YouTube video link for an engaging Power Point presentation in which Dr. Lewis explains how a family health crisis focused him on coming to terms with the outsized role of randomness in life, and to wrestle with the question of whether the scientific worldview of a fundamentally random universe is nihilistic. He summarizes how science has come to view the universe and absolutely everything in it as the product of entirely spontaneous, unguided processes, and why this is actually a highly motivating realization for humankind. Or see this link for a very brief video providing a synopsis of the book.


4. Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York, NY: Free Press, 2006), p. 22.

5. Stephen. W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 7, 125.

6. E.g. Victor Strenger, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2011).

7. Notwithstanding the tireless attempts by Intelligent Design proponents such as Michael Behe to suggest otherwise. For just one thorough refutation of Behe’s arguments see here .

8. On the other hand, perhaps God’s perception of time is just different from ours? We complain of terrible suffering, and he appears to us incompetent or cruel or indifferent. But maybe that’s just from our narrow point of view—perhaps we lack his long view of time and his understanding of the higher plan? It will all make sense in the after-life… Theologians offer this belief for your comfort if you’ve suffered cruel adversity. Decide for yourself if you can buy into it.

9. The Physical Evolution of Consciousness ; Do You Have Free Will? ; How Could Mind Emerge From Mindless Matter? ; What Actually Is a Thought? And How Is Information Physical? ; Where Does Purpose Come From? (If the Universe Had None) ; Is There Life After Death? The Mind-Body Problem . And for a more in depth understanding of the nature of consciousness and how it evolved, see my five-part blog series: " What Actually Is Consciousness, and How Did It Evolve?" (Part 1 of 5) .

10. Ralph Lewis, Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even If The Universe Doesn’t (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2018).

11. In answering “Yes” to the Templeton Foundation’s question “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?”

Ralph Lewis M.D.

Ralph Lewis, M.D. , is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and a consultant at the Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto.

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Essay on Space Exploration

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Essay on Space Exploration

For scientists, space is first and foremost a magnificent “playground” — an inexhaustible source of knowledge and learning that is assisting in the solution of some of the most fundamental existential issues concerning Earth’s origins and our place in the Universe. Curiosity has contributed significantly to the evolution of the human species. Curiosity along with the desire for a brighter future has driven humans to explore and develop from the discovery of fire by ancient ancestors to present space explorations.  Here is all the information you need and the best tips to write an essay on space exploration.

What is Space Exploration?  

Space Exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. While astronomers use telescopes to explore space, both uncrewed robotic space missions and human spaceflight are used to explore it physically. One of the primary sources for space science is space exploration, which is similar to astronomy in its classical form. We can use space exploration to validate or disprove scientific theories that have been created on Earth. Insights into gravity, the magnetosphere, the atmosphere, fluid dynamics, and the geological evolution of other planets have all come from studying the solar system.

Advantages of Space Exploration 

It is vital to understand and point out the advantages of space exploration while writing an essay on the topic.

New inventions have helped the worldwide society. NASA’s additional research was beneficial to society in a variety of ways. Transportation, medical, computer management, agriculture technology, and consumer products all profit from the discoveries. GPS technology, breast cancer treatment, lightweight breathing systems, Teflon fibreglass, and other areas benefited from the space programme.

 It is impossible to dispute that space exploration creates a large number of employment opportunities around the world. A better way to approach space exploration is to spend less and make it more cost-effective. In the current job market, space research initiatives provide far too much to science, technology, and communication. As a result, a large number of jobs are created.


NASA’s time-travelling space exploration programmes and satellite missions aid in the discovery of previously unknown facts about our universe. Scientists have gained a greater understanding of Earth’s nature and atmosphere, as well as those of other space entities. These are the research initiatives that alert us to impending natural disasters and other related forecasts. It also paves the way for our all-powerful universe to be saved from time to time.

Disadvantages of Space Exploration

Highlighting disadvantages will give another depth to your essay on space exploration. Here are some important points to keep in mind.

Pollution is one of the most concerning issues in space travel. Many satellites are launched into space each year, but not all of them return. The remnants of such incidents degrade over time, becoming debris that floats in the air. Old satellites, various types of equipment, launch pads, and rocket fragments all contribute to pollution. Space debris pollutes the atmosphere in a variety of ways. Not only is space exploration harmful to the environment, but it is also harmful to space.

A government space exploration programme is expensive. Many people believe that space mission initiatives are economical. It should be mentioned that NASA just celebrated its 30th anniversary with $196.5 billion spent.

Space exploration isn’t a walk in the park. Many historical occurrences demonstrate the dangers that come with sad situations. The Challenger space shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, must be remembered. The spacecraft exploded in under 73 seconds, resulting in a tremendous loss of life and property.


There are two sides to every coin. To survive on Earth, one must confront and overcome obstacles. Space exploration is an essential activity that cannot be overlooked, but it can be enhanced by technological advancements.

Space Exploration Courses

Well, if your dream is to explore space and you want to make a career in it, then maybe space exploration courses are the right choice for you to turn your dreams into reality. 

Various universities offering space exploration courses are :

Tips to write an IELTS Essay  on Space Exploration

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Our expanding universe: Age, history & other facts

The evolution and content of our ballooning universe

Expanding universe

The Big Bang

Expanding universe, additional resources, bibliography.

The universe was born with the Big Bang as an unimaginably hot, dense point. When the universe was just 10 -34 of a second or so old — that is, a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second in age — it experienced an incredible burst of expansion known as inflation, in which space itself expanded faster than the speed of light. During this period, the universe doubled in size at least 90 times, going from subatomic-sized to golf-ball-sized almost instantaneously.

The work that goes into understanding the expanding universe comes from a combination of theoretical physics and direct observations by astronomers. However, in some cases astronomers have not been able to see direct evidence — such as the case of gravitational waves associated with the cosmic microwave background , the leftover radiation from the Big Bang. A preliminary announcement about finding these waves in 2014 was quickly retracted, after astronomers found the signal detected could be explained by dust in the Milky Way .

According to NASA, after inflation the growth of the universe continued, but at a slower rate (opens in new tab) . As space expanded, the universe cooled and matter formed. One second after the Big Bang, the universe was filled with neutrons, protons, electrons , anti-electrons, photons and neutrinos.

During the first three minutes of the universe, the light elements were born during a process known as Big Bang nucleosynthesis. Temperatures cooled from 100 nonillion (10 32 ) Kelvin to 1 billion (10 9 ) Kelvin, and protons and neutrons collided to make deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen . Most of the deuterium combined to make helium , and trace amounts of lithium were also generated.

For the first 380,000 years or so, the universe was essentially too hot for light to shine, according to France's National Center of Space Research (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, or CNES). The heat of creation smashed atoms together with enough force to break them up into a dense plasma, an opaque soup of protons, neutrons and electrons that scattered light like fog.

What is the coldest place in the universe?

Geocentric model: The Earth-centered view of the universe

Do parallel universes exist?

Dark stars: The first stars in the universe

Was there a bang at the end of the universe?

Roughly 380,000 years after the Big Bang, matter cooled enough for atoms to form during the era of recombination, resulting in a transparent, electrically neutral gas, according to NASA (opens in new tab) . This set loose the initial flash of light created during the Big Bang, which is detectable today as cosmic microwave background radiation . However, after this point, the universe was plunged into darkness, since no stars or any other bright objects had formed yet.

About 400 million years after the Big Bang, the universe began to emerge from the cosmic dark ages during the epoch of reionization. During this time, which lasted more than a half-billion years, clumps of gas collapsed enough to form the first stars and galaxies, whose energetic ultraviolet light ionized and destroyed most of the neutral hydrogen.

Although the expansion of the universe gradually slowed down (opens in new tab) as the matter in the universe pulled on itself via gravity, about 5 or 6 billion years after the Big Bang, according to NASA (opens in new tab) , a mysterious force now called dark energy began speeding up the expansion of the universe again, a phenomenon that continues today.

A little after 9 billion years after the Big Bang, our solar system was born.

The Big Bang did not occur as an explosion in the usual way one think about such things, despite one might gather from its name. The universe did not expand into space, as space did not exist before the universe, according to NASA (opens in new tab) . Instead, it is better to think of the Big Bang as the simultaneous appearance of space everywhere in the universe (opens in new tab) . The universe has not expanded from any one spot since the Big Bang — rather, space itself has been stretching, and carrying matter with it.

Since the universe by its definition encompasses all of space and time as we know it, NASA says it is beyond the model of the Big Bang (opens in new tab) to say what the universe is expanding into or what gave rise to the Big Bang. Although there are models that speculate about these questions, none of them have made realistically testable predictions as of yet.

In 2014, scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced that they had found a faint signal in the cosmic microwave background that could be the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, themselves considered a " smoking gun " for the Big Bang. The findings were hotly debated , and astronomers soon retracted their results when they realized dust in the Milky Way could explain their findings. 

How old is the universe?

The universe is currently estimated at roughly 13.8 billion years old , give or take 130 million years. In comparison, the solar system is only about 4.6 billion years old.

This estimate came from measuring the composition of matter and energy density in the universe. This allowed researchers to compute how fast the universe expanded in the past. With that knowledge, they could turn the clock back and extrapolate when the Big Bang happened (opens in new tab) . The time between then and now is the age of the universe.

How is it structured?

Scientists think that in the earliest moments of the universe, there was no structure to it to speak of, with matter and energy distributed nearly uniformly throughout. According to NASA (opens in new tab) , the gravitational pull of small fluctuations in the density of matter back then gave rise to the vast web-like structure of stars and emptiness seen today. Dense regions pulled in more and more matter through gravity, and the more massive they became, the more matter they could pull in through gravity, forming stars , galaxies and larger structures known as clusters, superclusters, filaments and walls , with "great walls" of thousands of galaxies reaching more than a billion light years in length. Less dense regions did not grow, evolving into area of seemingly empty space called voids.

Contents of the universe

Until a few decades ago, astronomers thought that the universe was composed almost entirely of ordinary atoms, or "baryonic matter," according to NASA (opens in new tab) . However, recently there has been ever more evidence that suggests most of the ingredients making up the universe come in forms that we cannot see.

It turns out that atoms only make up 4.6 percent of the universe. Of the remainder, 23 percent is made up of dark matter , which is likely composed of one or more species of subatomic particles that interact very weakly with ordinary matter, and 72 percent is made of dark energy, which apparently is driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.

When it comes to the atoms we are familiar with, hydrogen makes up about 75 percent, while helium makes up about 25 percent, with heavier elements making up only a tiny fraction of the universe's atoms, according to NASA (opens in new tab) .

What shape is it?

The shape of the universe and whether or not it is finite or infinite in extent depends on the struggle between the rate of its expansion and the pull of gravity. The strength of the pull in question depends in part on the density of the matter in the universe.

If the density of the universe exceeds a specific critical value, then the universe is " closed (opens in new tab) " and "positive curved" like the surface of a sphere. This means light beams that are initially parallel will converge slowly, eventually cross and return back to their starting point, if the universe lasts long enough. If so, according to NASA (opens in new tab) , the universe is not infinite but has no end, just as the area on the surface of a sphere is not infinite but has no beginning or end to speak of. The universe will eventually stop expanding and start collapsing in on itself, the so-called "Big Crunch."

If the density of the universe is less than this critical density, then the geometry of space is " open (opens in new tab) " and "negatively curved" like the surface of a saddle. If so, the universe has no bounds, and will expand forever (opens in new tab) .

If the density of the universe exactly equals the critical density, then the geometry of the universe is "flat" with zero curvature like a sheet of paper, according to NASA (opens in new tab) . If so, the universe has no bounds and will expand forever, but the rate of expansion will gradually approach zero (opens in new tab) after an infinite amount of time. Recent measurements suggest that the universe is flat with only a 0.4 percent margin of error, according to NASA.

It is possible that the universe has a more complicated shape overall while seeming to possess a different curvature. For instance, the universe could have the shape of a torus, or doughnut (opens in new tab) .

In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered the universe was not static (opens in new tab) . Rather, it was expanding; a find that revealed the universe was apparently born in a Big Bang.

After that, it was long thought the gravity of matter in the universe was certain to slow the expansion of the universe (opens in new tab) . Then, in 1998, the Hubble Space Telescope 's observations of very distant supernovae revealed that a long time ago, the universe was expanding more slowly than it is today. In other words, the expansion of the universe was not slowing due to gravity, but instead inexplicably was accelerating. The name for the unknown force driving this accelerating expansion is dark energy, and it remains one of the greatest mysteries in science.

Want to explore the universe for yourself? You can roam the Milky Way's stars and galaxies virtually using NASA's Hubble Skymap (opens in new tab) . Additionally, you can read 10 wild theories about the universe (opens in new tab) in this article by Live Science.

"The first stars in the Universe". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Volume 373, Issue 1 (2006). (opens in new tab)

"The molecular universe". Reviews of Modern Physics (2013). (opens in new tab)

"Hubble’s Law and the expanding universe". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015). (opens in new tab)

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected]

Ailsa is a staff writer for How It Works magazine, where she writes science, technology, space, history and environment features. Based in the U.K., she graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA (Hons) journalism degree. Previously, Ailsa has written for Cardiff Times magazine, Psychology Now and numerous science bookazines. 


Are We or are We Not Alone in the Universe?

Argumentative essay on do aliens exist.

The talk of another life form in our galaxy seems impeccably unlikely to most. People who do not believe in aliens think that the mere thought of them existing is inane. They could not care less about putting in the effort of proving their point that otherworldly figures are not real. Also, many of them will stubbornly refuse even the slight possibility of aliens. Even though there is a plethora of evidence, some people continue to disregard the facts that aliens exist.

Why Aliens Do Not Exist

Even though the three big reasons why aliens do not exist has been explained for this argument, there are still smaller reasons that add to the fact that there are no other existing alien civilizations other than ours here on Earth. One of those reasons is that governments do not give very much evidence supporting the existence of alien civilization. In fact, European governments have completely disclosed everything they know about UFO’s. The only evidence most governments give out to the public is testimonial evidence. There has never been any real hard physical evidence. Another reason is that scientists, in a sense, know that aliens can not exist, but they use the ridicule excuse as a cover up to explain why they do not admit UFO’s are real. Scientists are supposedly afraid of the ridicule they would receive if they would happen to admit aliens do exist. On the other hand, scientists lie and cheat to gain fame and fortune for all kinds of research and investigations. The discovery of UFO’s would make them big and famous, but yet all

Brooke Gladstone's The Influencing Machine

    Danny Crichton, in his article, “Fear Not The Robot,” tells that this fear is typical. It is like a revolving door. Every few years the fears come back. Typically they are caused by books and articles.

Similarities Between Area 51 And Roswell

Alien invasion has been on the minds of many, and it is not something to take lightly. Aliens are real, the United States government has confirmed this, and these craft may be even closer than some claim. Unexplainable UFO sightings have been on the rise, popularized with the crash at Roswell, and they are not going anywhere. The fact that aliens are involved in these sightings is indisputable, but there are people who refuse to accept the truth. Many people state that Area 51 is just a “military base” and Roswell was just a spy balloon crash, but there is proof that there are aliens involved in both Area 51 and Roswell.

Rex Heflin's The Mysterious Men In Black

Are we alone? Are there people around us? Has anyone heard about aliens? Are they real? Can you answer all of those questions, if not, then just keep reading. In my opinion aliens do exist and there are plenty of evidence to prove they exist.

Persuasive Essay About Aliens

We live in a universe that is about 46 billion light years old. In a world, as massive as ours there must be some form of extraterrestrial life out in the galaxy. For thousands of years ancient peoples, such as the Greeks, have wondered the same question. Are we alone? As our technology advances, things such as videos and photographs are surfacing of people claiming to see such alien life. Whether it is an unidentified flying object, or if it’s from someone claiming to see an actual alien, there are thousands of people that believe they have seen proof. Some also claim that the government is hiding things behind our backs, like the Roswell UFO incident for example. Though many people refuse to believe in the existence of alien life forms until they see evidence, the fact that multitudes of people have eye-witness accounts, the improbability that we are alone, and the idea that we have thought of aliens so long, bring forth the evidence that proves something is out there.

Monsters Amongst Themselves

Imagine if all power was out and aliens were going to invade you. You’ll be freaked out right? It’s just like the teleplay “Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.” In the 1960s, there was a teleplay created by the Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was the founder of the Twilight Zone. The Twilight zone was a show that aired about every week. The Twilight zone was a supernatural, science-fiction, and a scary show. There were two teleplays made one in the 1960s and one in 2003. All I’m saying is FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN CAN CAUSE PEOPLE TO TURN ON EACH OTHER.

Summary Of C. S. Lewis Out Of The Silent Planet

People across the globe have been afraid of extraterrestrial beings for centuries. Most of these fears are brought about by the thought that any being that is more technologically advanced will inevitably want to bring destruction to all humans. Many people think this due to the history of human beings that shows those who come up with a better technology use that as power to be wielded against others. C.S. Lewis in Out of the Silent Planet shows that humans tend to fear the possible power of beings that are different and are technologically advanced. His characters show continuously the views that humans have for new or different beings. He constantly gives examples throughout the book of the ways humans look at, down at or up to, creatures of different levels of intelligence and of different appearances. The three species of “aliens” in this book give a good example of how well a society could work together if they looked at their differences as ways to help each other, rather than looking at them as a way to differ between higher and lower class. The creatures disregard appearance and intelligence and show just how little those characteristics matter in the total scheme of things.

Analysis Of Clive Thompson's The New Literacy

Throughout history people are afraid of the unknown people kill one another because they are afraid the other person might kill them first, so they strike first. The fear of new technology is the same, individuals do not understand so they want to kill it off, or they do not want to give technology a chance. This is an irrational fear because technology can bring great advances to the world such as the printing press and the telephone.

Comparing The War Of The Worlds And Zero Hour By H. G. Wells

How does science fiction capture society’s fears? Even though they could barely explain what's happening, both H.G. Wells from The War of the Worlds and Ray Bradbury from “Zero Hour” both explain what's happening during an alien Invasion. Both text show that the characters are confused and scared and have odd appearances.

Does Life Exist on Space?

Exobiology is the science that is concerned with the search for life in outer space; it may be called as astrobiology as well. The search for life in outer space has consumed the imagination of the humankind for long time ago. Nowadays, humankind has made a progress and found major discoveries in the quest for life existence in the universe and outer space because of the advancement of the technology. However, in the past, exobiology was considered as a science without a subject, where the people and other scientists laughed at and ridiculed the famous scientist and biologist Joshua Lederberg when he originated the term exobiology. Some people argue that life exists elsewhere in the universe, however, others believe that life only exist on Earth. A new study reveals that our galaxy, the Milky Way, has 100 billion or so stars, where 17 billion of them are Earth-size alien planets, and probably many more. The huge size of the galaxy increases the probability of life existence in the outer space. Are we alone in the universe? This question has captured the imaginations of scientist, theologians, and astrobiologists. However, they don’t know the answer yet. Understanding the complete definition of life and how life originated, and determining the techniques used for searching for life existence in outer space and evidences found can help to answer the question of “Are we alone in the universe?”

Conspiracy Theories

Believing in extraterrestrials has been a theory that has been tossed around for years. UFO sightings and people claiming they’ve even been aboard a ship, there are endless theories of what is really out there. It may seem foolish to us but these people believe in the conspiracy theory that aliens exist. Theories, much like this one, cause one to be frightened by the unknown and isolate themselves due to their phobias. People recall such tragic events with the subject of aliens and are mortified of these beings. Once an unexplainable event unfolds, much like aliens coming to earth, people will create theories to add fear to our lives and make us overthink the problem. These citizens have no control over what is happening and that causes them to create more and more of these ideas.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Essay

Most astronomers and scientists seem firmly convinced of this fact. Although there is not any direct (or even indirect) evidence to support these claims that other sentient life is sharing the universe with us. However, this lack of evidence showing that extraterrestrial life forms exist is not proof that they do not exist. It just does not seem logical that our planet is the only place where life and intelligence could have developed. The odds are billions against life of some form being unique to the Earth only. The Earth is unimportant in the grand scale of things in the galaxy. By this I am referring to its' size and position in the universe. In fact, the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests that the true question that we should be

UFOs: The Roswell Mystery

The biggest question we all ask ourselves at one point in time or another is, are we really alone in the universe? Many believe that all known encounters and evidence is either false, a hoax, or an attempt at fame and glory. True believers stick to the physical evidence and hard facts that follow these mysterious encounters. One specific event that occurred at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 has baffled theorists and experts for generations and will continue to leave a controversial standpoint on what really may have occurred. This occurrence in particular has left a lot of unanswered questions about extraterrestrial existence due to the fact that most of the evidence collected from the incident is to either to old to be a credible source or the government has covered up the evidence and left a false influence behind. Overall, how has outside influence altered personal encounters and experience with extraterrestrial contact with relation to the Roswell Incident?

The Milky Way Galaxy Essay

Many people who live on Earth are close minded to what is really out there in the universe. They cannot even begin to fathom the vastness of it and how Earth is just a tiny little speck compared to everything else out there. From the planets to the stars and out towards the edge of the unknown, we can only see what science provides us with. From this, we know that we are nothing but a tiny planet located in a solar system of millions in a galaxy of many more in the universe.

Related Topics

How Did the Universe Begin?

How did the universe come to be?

It is perhaps the greatest Great Mystery, and the root of all the others. Humanity's grandest questions — How did life begin? What is consciousness ? What is dark matter, dark energy, gravity ? — stem from it.

"All other mysteries lie downstream of this question," said Ann Druyan, the author and widow of astronomer Carl Sagan. "It matters to me because I am human and do not like not knowing."

Even as the theories attempting to solve this mystery grow increasingly complex, scientists are haunted by the possibility that some of the most critical links in their chain of reasoning are wrong.

Fundamental mysteries

According to the standard Big Bang model, the universe was born during a period of inflation that began about 13.8 billion years ago. Like a rapidly expanding balloon, it swelled from a size smaller than an electron to nearly its current size within a tiny fraction of a second.

Initially, the universe was permeated only by energy. Some of this energy congealed into particles, which assembled into light atoms like hydrogen and helium. These atoms clumped first into galaxies, then stars, inside whose fiery furnaces all the other elements were forged.

This is the generally agreed-upon picture of our universe's origins as depicted by scientists. It is a powerful model that explains many of the things scientists see when they look up in the sky, such as the remarkable smoothness of space-time on large scales and the even distribution of galaxies on opposite sides of the universe.

But there are things about this story that make some scientists uneasy. For starters, the idea that the universe underwent a period of rapid inflation early in its history cannot be directly tested, and it relies on the existence of a mysterious form of energy in the universe's beginning that has long since disappeared.

"Inflation is an extremely powerful theory, and yet we still have no idea what caused inflation or whether it is even the correct theory, although it works extremely well," said Eric Agol, an astrophysicist at the University of Washington.

For some scientists, inflation is a clunky addition to the Big Bang model, a necessary complexity appended to make it fit with observations. This wouldn't be the last addition.

"We've also learned there has to be dark matter in the universe, and now dark energy ," said Paul Steinhardt, a theoretical physicist at Princeton University. "So the way the model works today is you say, 'OK, you take some Big Bang, you take some inflation, you tune that to have the following properties, then you add a certain amount of dark matter and dark energy.' These things aren't connected in a coherent theory."

Steinhardt worries cosmologists are acting more as engineers than scientists. If an observation doesn't match the current model, they attach another component or tinker with existing ones to fit. The components aren't connected and there's no reason to add them except to match observations. It's like trying to fix an old car by adding new parts from newer but different models. Those parts may work in the short term, but eventually, you need a new car.

An ageless universe

In recent years, Steinhardt has been working with Anna Ijjas, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University, on a radical alternative to the standard Big Bang model.

According to their idea, called bouncing cosmology , the universe was born not just once, but possibly multiple times in endless cycles of contraction and expansion. The theory replaces the "big bang" with a "big bounce", which smoothly connects periods of contraction and expansion of the universe and solves many of the issues that plague the inflation theory.

The pair claims that their ekpyrotic, or "cyclic," theory would explain not only inflation, but other cosmic mysteries as well, including dark matter, dark energy and why the universe appears to be expanding at an ever-accelerating clip. [ The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics ]

While controversial, bouncing cosmology raises the possibility that the universe is ageless and self-renewing. It is a prospect perhaps even more awe-inspiring than a universe with a definite beginning and end, for it would mean that the stars in the sky, even the oldest ones , are like short-lived fireflies in the grand scheme of things.

"I'd like to hope that the effort society pours into scientific research is getting us closer to fundamental truths, and not just a way to make useful tools," said California Institute of Technology astronomer Richard Massey. "But I'm equally terrified of finding out that everything I know is wrong, and secretly hope that I don't."

Additional resources:

This article was updated on June 27, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Tim Childers.

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What is the Fate of the Universe?

For most of recorded history, the answer was simple: The universe has always existed and always will. Few people challenged the dogma or even suspected it might not be true.


Although the answer to this ancient question is still unknown, there are strong observational hints toward a clear outcome.  And, that, in and of itself, would have surprised most astronomers who thought about the subject during the past 85 years. 

For most of recorded history, the answer was simple: The universe has always existed and always will. Few people challenged the dogma or even suspected it might not be true. 

That started to change in the 1910s with the publication of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The first models developed from Einstein’s equations showed that the universe does not have to be static and unchanging, but it can evolve. 

In the 1920s, Belgian priest and astronomer Georges Lemaître developed the concept of the Big Bang. Coupled with Edwin Hubble’s observations of an expanding universe, astronomers were coming around to the idea that the universe had a beginning — and could have an end. 

It wasn’t until the 1960s that strong observational evidence supported the Big Bang. The two breakthroughs were the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation by radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, and the realization that active galaxies existed preferentially in the distant universe, which meant they existed when the cosmos was much younger than it is today, and so the universe has been evolving. 

the universe essay

By the 1980s, most astronomers were convinced that the universe began with a bang, but they had little clue how it would end. There were basically three scenarios, all based on how much matter the universe contained. If the cosmos had less than a certain critical density, the universe was “open” and would expand forever; if the density were above the critical value, the universe was “closed” and the expansion ultimately would stop and then reverse, leading to a “Big Crunch”; if the universe were at the critical density, it was “flat” and expansion would continue forever, but the rate would eventually slow to zero. 

Observations seemed to favor an open universe, with astronomers finding only about 1 percent of the matter needed to halt expansion. But scientists knew that a lot of dark matter — nonluminous material that nevertheless has gravitational pull — existed. Would it be enough to stop the expansion? No one knew.


DISTANT SUPERNOVAE. Dark energy rules the cosmos. Each left panel shows a host galaxy, while the matching right panel reveals a fainter-than-expected supernova in that galaxy.

Matters grew more interesting in the 1980s when Alan Guth proposed his inflation hypothesis. This says a brief period of hyperexpansion in the universe’s first second made the universe flat. Astronomers eagerly accepted inflation because it solved some of the problems with the Big Bang model and also was philosophically pleasing. 

But the most remarkable development came in the late 1990s. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and several large ground-based instruments were examining dozens of distant type Ia supernovae. This variety of exploding star arises when a white dwarf in a binary system pulls enough matter from its companion star to push it above 1.4 solar masses. At that stage, the white dwarf can no longer support itself, which triggers a runaway nuclear chain reaction that causes the star to explode. 

Because all these exploding white dwarfs have the same mass, they all have the same approximate peak luminosity. Simply measure how bright the type Ia supernova appears, and you can calculate its distance. 

That’s exactly what the Supernova Cosmology Project, headed by University of California, Berkeley, astronomer Saul Perlmutter, and the High-Z Supernova Search Team, led by Brian Schmidt of the Mt. Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, were doing. Both research teams found the most distant supernovae were fainter than their distances would imply. 

The only way this makes sense is if the expansion of the universe is speeding up. Gravity works to slow down the expansion, and did so successfully for billions of years. But it now appears we have entered an era where gravity is no match for the mysterious force causing the expansion to accelerate. 

The force may take the form of dark energy, quintessence, the cosmological constant, or some other strange name with a different effect. But the results of this energy — which makes up 68 percent of the mass-energy content of the cosmos — likely will lead to unending expansion. (Although, some cosmologists say the force doesn’t have to last forever.) If it keeps operating as it has, a “Big Rip” may be in our future. If not, a “Big Crunch” could still be ahead.


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