I started by coping the wikipedia article to my talk page, and started editing. I rearranged the article, and am editing each subpoint.
My three goals for changing the wikipedia article:
- Improve the flow of the article.
- Reduce tech talk.
- Find good references.
Bryan Eskew 14:43, 25 October 2007 (CDT)
The currently observable universe appears to have a geometrically flat space-time containing the equivalent mass-energy density of 9.9 × 10-30 grams per cubic centimeter. This mass-energy appears to consist of 73% dark energy, 23% cold dark matter and 4% atoms. Thus the density of atoms is on the order of a single hydrogen nucleus (or atom) for every four cubic meters of volume. The exact nature of dark energy and cold dark matter remain a mystery.
During the early phases of the big bang, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were formed. However, through a CP-violation, physical processes resulted in an asymmetry in the amount of matter as compared to anti-matter. This asymmetry explains the amount of residual matter found in the universe today, as nearly all the matter and anti-matter would otherwise have annihilated each other when they came into contact.
Prior to the formation of the first stars, the chemical composition of the Universe consisted primarily of hydrogen (75% of total mass), with a lesser amount of helium-4 (4He) (24% of total mass) and trace amounts of the isotopes deuterium (2H), helium-3 (3He) and lithium (7Li). Subsequently the interstellar medium within galaxies has been steadily enriched by heavier elements. These are introduced as a result of supernova explosions, stellar winds and the expulsion of the outer envelope of evolved stars.
The big bang left behind a background flux of photons and neutrinos. The temperature of the background radiation has steadily decreased as the universe expands, and now primarily consists of microwave energy equivalent to a temperature of 2.725 K. The neutrino background is not observable with present-day technology, but is theorized to have a density of about 150 neutrinos per cubic centimeter.
Very little is known about the size of the universe. It may be trillions of light years across, or even infinite in size. A 2003 paper claims to establish a lower bound of 24 gigaparsecs (78 billion light years) on the size of the universe, but there is no reason to believe that this bound is anywhere near tight.
The observable (or visible) universe, consisting of all locations that could have affected us since the Big Bang given the finite speed of light, is certainly finite. The comoving distance to the edge of the visible universe is about 46.5 billion light years in all directions from the earth; thus the visible universe may be thought of as a perfect sphere with the Earth at its center and a diameter of about 93 billion light years.
An important open question of cosmology is the shape of the universe. Mathematically, which 3-manifold best represents the spatial part of the universe?
Firstly, whether the universe is spatially flat, i.e. whether the rules of Euclidean geometry are valid on the largest scales, is unknown. Currently, most cosmologists believe that the observable universe is very nearly spatially flat, with local wrinkles where massive objects distort spacetime, just as the surface of a lake is nearly flat. This opinion was strengthened by the latest data from WMAP, looking at "acoustic oscillations" in the cosmic microwave background radiation temperature variations.
Secondly, whether the universe is multiply connected is unknown. The universe has no spatial boundary according to the standard Big Bang model, but nevertheless may be spatially finite (compact). This can be understood using a two-dimensional analogy: the surface of a sphere has no edge, but nonetheless has a finite area. It is a two-dimensional surface with constant curvature in a third dimension. The 3-sphere is a three-dimensional equivalent in which all three dimensions are constantly curved in a fourth.
If the universe were compact and without boundary, it would be possible after traveling a sufficient distance to arrive back where one began. Hence, the light from stars and galaxies could pass through the observable universe more than once. If the universe were multiply-connected and sufficiently small (and of an appropriate, perhaps complex, shape) then conceivably one might be able to see once or several times around it in some (or all) directions. Although this possibility has not been ruled out, the results of the latest cosmic microwave background research make this appear very unlikely.
Homogeneity and isotropy
Fluctuations in the microwave background radiation. NASA/WMAP image.While there is considerable fractalized structure at the local level (arranged in a hierarchy of clustering), on the highest orders of distance the universe is very homogeneous. On these scales the density of the universe is very uniform, and there is no preferred direction or significant asymmetry to the universe. This homogeneity is a requirement of the Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric employed in modern cosmological models.
The question of anisotropy in the early universe was significantly answered by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which looked for fluctuations in the microwave background intensity. The measurements of this anisotropy have provided useful information and constraints about the evolution of the universe.
To the limit of the observing power of astronomical instruments, objects radiate and absorb energy according to the same physical laws as they do within our own galaxy. Based on this, it is believed that the same physical laws and constants are universally applicable throughout the observable universe. No confirmed evidence has yet been found to show that physical constants have varied since the big bang, and the possible variation is becoming well constrained.
- Would a mention that religious groups have various creation stories with a wikilnk to a catalog of creation stories be sufficient to make it neutral? Kim van der Linde 00:46, 27 October 2007 (CDT)
- I believe it would. --Eddie Ortiz Nieves 09:36, 27 October 2007 (CDT)
which version of "creationism", Native American?
I find this article is neutral and is based on current thinking. Additional modifications could be added yet. I am quite sure that Eddie is referring to the Jewish/Christian view of creationism, but there are many others that are equally valid (or invalid). So, if we were to list the Christian version, then we would have to add the various Native American versions, and southeast Asian versions, and ..... At that point, it turns into another article entirely, which I believe already exists. David E. Volk 08:31, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
- We don't have to add every single quality of every Creationist movement ever created. I'm just saying that at least a sentence in the lead and a section in the article should be included in order for the article to be neutral. Just talking about the scientific versions of the creation of the Universe is certainly not neutral. Creationism is part of "current thinking" just as much as the Big Bang theory is, if not more, because I am quite certain that Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Native Americans outnumber Big Bangers and Darwinists. --Eddie Ortiz Nieves 18:37, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
- Though the number of people who believe something doesn't mean it's more likely to be right; and creationism is a far more common belief in North America than in Europe, so it depends on whose current thinking we are discussing. John Stephenson 00:25, 27 October 2007 (CDT)
Why not Earth center universe then?
Creationism is "current faith", not "current thinking". If we put in creationism, why not put in the idea of a universe that is Earth centered? Because all evidence points to a non-Earth centered universe. The same can be said for creationism ideas which make the Earth a few thousand or tens of thousands of years old. All evidence disproves creationism ideas. I do not use the phrase creationist theory, because a theory needs to make predictions that can be tested. Creationism doesn't do that. David E. Volk 09:28, 27 October 2007 (CDT)
- Creationism is not a theory; it is a religious belief. Science cannot "disprove" that, no matter how hard it tries. Neutrality means "representing all views fairly." Until we add all notable viewpoints, religious and scientific alike, this article will not be complete and it certainly will not be neutral. --Eddie Ortiz Nieves 09:35, 27 October 2007 (CDT)
Creation v. Big Bang
To preface this, I do hold Christianity to be my religion. However, I do not think that this should be a site based on religious argument. If anyone wants to make a page on creation theory, and write about different religious creation stories, and scientific evidence and philosophical arguments for creation ideas, I think that would be fine. And then we put the link at the bottom of the page under further reading, or even in the main text if that is the community consensus. But since the study of the universe is primarily a scientific pursuit, I feel that the focus of the article should be scientific findings.
Personally, I think that time would be better spent actually contributing to the article, instead of talking about what should be on it. There are plenty of non-controversial parts of the article to work on, and other articles as well that have little controversy.
Bryan Eskew 18:42, 31 October 2007 (CDT)