Understanding Our Universe – A Brief History

Understanding Our Universe – A Brief History

The concept of the universe and the entities that make it up are extraordinarily complex and fascinating. Scientists in many fields such as physics and astronomy, for example, continue to review the different theories about how the universe came to be. They also study many facets of the universe to tell as how old it is, what it is made up of, its size and much more. But to even begin to comprehend the complexities of the universe, you need to know how the word universe is defined.

Conventional Definition of the Universe

The word universe is typically defined as the totality of everything that exists and everything that doesn’t exist. Everything refers to all energy, all matter, galaxies, planets, stars, and all of the intergalactic space contents. This general definition is usually the one accepted by most, but there are slight variations in definition as well as terms used to describe it. Some refer to the universe as the world, cosmos or even nature.

Etymology of the Word Universe

The word universe as it is used today is derived from the French word Univers. The Old French word was derived from the Latin word universum. The Latin word was roughly translated as “everything translated as one”.

The universe has been studied by scientists, academics and philosophers since the beginning of mankind. The earliest geocentric models were developed by the Ancient Greeks and were the starting point for the theories and universal models of scientists and philosophers who came decades after them.

Copernicus’s Heliocentric Model

This astronomical model demonstrates the theory that the earth and the planets all revolve around one solid and stationary entity – the sun. The sun was believed to be the center of our solar system. This model had been proposed to the scientific community in the third century BC by Aristarchus of Samos, but wasn’t taken seriously by other astronomers or scientists. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century when Nicolaus Copernicus elaborated on the model and went into detail with it. With his studies and observations, he turned the argument into an astronomical matter rather than a philosophical one. The argument was whether the sun and stars revolved around the earth, or vice versa.

Newtonian Model of the Universe

During the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton studied mathematics, physics, optics, mechanics, and philosophy among other academic areas. Newton elaborated on the Copernicus model and said that the universe is made up of three different elements: matter, space and motion. He also knew that gravity was a part of the universe. After further study, Newton discovered universal gravitation and came to the conclusion that it was the reason why planets were drawn to the sun.

Big Bang Theory

This theory is the predominant cosmological model that is recognized today and it explains the earliest development of the universe. According to the Big Bang Theory, the universe was matter and energy that was contained in one extremely dense and very hot point. About fifteen billion years ago, this point of matter and energy exploded with great force. However, this was not an ordinary explosion. Unlike a bomb exploding where shrapnel is propelled outward in all directions and lands in random places, the Big Bang’s explosion mapped out our universe. You can think of the Big Bang as a flower. The petals of the flower are kept within before it blooms. Once the flower blooms, each petal grows outward, but not at random. Each petal has its own place on the flower. The Big Bang Theory came from a man by the name of Edwin Hubble. He observed the universe and its planets and concluded that the universe is constantly getting larger and the planets are constantly in motion, moving farther away from each other.

Keep in mind that the theories and models listed above are still being studied and new discoveries are being made using them as a starting point. While the Big Bang Theory is the fundamental theory of how the universe was formed, no one knows what there was before that point of energy and matter exploded. There are many other questions that have gone unanswered regarding the universe. Scientists are still studying the specifics of the universe. However, listed below are the particulars of the universe as it is known today.

How Big is the Universe?

The size of the universe is still unknown. Scientists are unsure how to accurately measure the universe for a few reasons. The universe is constantly expanding and there are many parts of the universe that are not within our reach to study or even observe. It is known that our universe is immensely huge in volume and it could possibly be infinite. It is believed that the universe that can be observed from Earth is a sphere with a radius of forty-six billion light years.

What is the Universe Made of?

The contents of the universe are many things. However, keep in mind that there is a lot of space that has not been observed or explored due to the fact that it is not within our reach. What we do know is that our universe is made up of neutrons, stars, heavy matter, dark matter, heavy elements, helium, hydrogen, and dark energy. Scientists believe that our universe is made up of about ninety-five percent dark matter and dark energy, both of which are not understood. That means that less than five percent of our universe is made of regular matter. The universe also has galaxies clustered together, voids, superclusters, and filaments that make up the universe.

How Old is the Universe?

The exact age of the universe is not really known. However, the universe is believed to be between thirteen and fifteen billion years old. Scientists have a hard time calculating an exact age because of the fact that the universe is always expanding.

The universe is a vast space containing matter, energy, elements, galaxies, and much more that scientists don’t even know about. The laws of the universe are not truly known either. It’s almost as if the universe as a whole is the most powerful entity we know as humans. Some people use the universe to explain good or bad things that happen to them. Some people see the universe as their own spiritual entity or higher power that dictates their fate or destiny. You may feel this way about the universe, or you may not. Whatever you believe about the universe, a few things are certain. The universe is larger than we will possibly ever know. There could be an infinite number of galaxies out there that we don’t know about. Scientists know for certain that there are an enormous number of galaxies in our universe, they just don’t know how many. Because there are so many galaxies out there that are beyond our reach, we may not be the only living things in this universe!

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This article is written by Ashley Dale for Mind Power World: http://www.MindPowerWorld.com