All scientific thinking on the nature of the universe can be traced to the distinctive geometric patterns formed by the stars in the night sky. These stories became the mythical tales that are part of most cultures.
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When nomads turned to farming, an intimate knowledge of the constellations served a new function—an aid in timekeeping, in particular for keeping track of the seasons. Foremost among the wanderers was the Sun: day and night came with its rising and setting, and its motion through the zodiac signaled the season to plant and the season to reap.
Next in importance was the Moon: its position correlated with the tides , and its shape changed intriguingly over the course of a month. The Sun and Moon had the power of gods; why not then the other wanderers? In homage to this belief, Babylonian priests devised the week of seven days, whose names even in various modern languages for example, English, French, or Norwegian can still easily be traced to their origins in the seven planet-gods.
Euclid space telescope to study 'dark Universe' makes progress
The apex in the description of planetary motions during classical antiquity was reached with the Greeks , who were of course superb geometers. They developed an epicyclic model that would reproduce the observed planetary motions with quite astonishing accuracy. The model invoked small circles on top of large circles, all rotating at individual uniform speeds, and it culminated about ce with the work of Ptolemy , who introduced the ingenious artifact of displaced centres for the circles to improve the empirical fit.
Although the model was purely kinematic and did not attempt to address the dynamical reasons for why the motions were as they were, it laid the groundwork for the paradigm that nature is not capricious but possesses a regularity and precision that can be discovered from experience and used to predict future events. The application of the methods of Euclidean geometry to planetary astronomy by the Greeks led to other schools of thought as well.
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Pythagoras c. In the 4th century bce Heracleides Ponticus , a follower of Pythagoras, taught that the spherical Earth rotated freely in space and that Mercury and Venus revolved about the Sun. 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 , km per second , it would take , years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone.
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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. Jee and her team have entered a debate about the universe's age that has been going on for years.
A European team came up with a Hubble constant number of 67 in , while earlier this year, NASA scientists came up with a constant of The newest calculation is noticeably larger than any other estimate. The age of something as massive and multifaceted as the universe is difficult to ascertain, to say the least.
Does it go on forever?
Jee admits her team's number comes with a caveat. Their number came from using only two gravitational lenses, which were all that were available. That means the team's margin of error is big enough to include the possibility that the universe might actually be older than calculated, not noticeably younger. In other words, the more data on the universe, the more scientists will be able to determine its age.
universe: A class for finite and recursively enumerable types.
Good thing thing it looks like the James Webb Space Telescope is finally coming. Type keyword s to search. The exact age of the universe has long been up for debate. A new entrant into that debate claims the universe is significantly younger than previous estimates. Scientists used what's known as "gravitational lensing" to track the movement of stars through their gravitational field's distortion, causing them to bend light.
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