Talk:Age of the universe

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Use of the word "defined"[edit]

Hi everyone. Is there a source or style guideline to support the use of the word "defined" in the lead sentence? I will agree that there is a valid distinction between the definition of the term and the measurement (something I didn't think of when I made my edit) but beyond that it seems to me that even in such a case the word "defined" should not be used; it seems unnecessarily pedantic, as well as WP:WEASEL.

I also checked a few other articles, e.g. momentum, prime number, and matrix (mathematics). Based on the same logic, these could all be described using the word "defined" (in fact, I think the argument is stronger in these cases), but they aren't. I haven't seen any support for the practice in physical cosmology articles either. Arc de Ciel (talk) 07:41, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't feel at all strongly about "defined"; I was perhaps unduly influenced by what I saw as flawed logic in the edit summary. I do think that a mention of and link to physical cosmology is useful. Would "In physical cosmology, the age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang." be a better first sentence? —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 00:30, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply - I was perhaps unduly influenced by what seemed like possible fringe POV push content. :-) (I spend a lot of my Wikipedia time dealing with such content.) I've made your suggested change; I would still prefer not to include the phrase "in physical cosmology" but I'll leave that issue for another day. Arc de Ciel (talk) 08:30, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough; I find the same re fringe content. My only reason for the physical cosmology bit is to say that's the subfield of astrophysics that deals with this since many readers may not know (and I didn't before I took my first undergrad cosmology class many years ago). I don't feel strongly about that either. —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 10:00, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Age: It is not clear about the unit of time being used. When we talk about the age of a stone as 10 million years, we have some idea and assume that the year being talked about is the same year we are familiar with. However, how the notion of time changes when we reach close to the singularity is not clear to most people. How the concept of time is chagning with the cosmological scale and phase or epoch?chami 19:22, 2 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ck.mitra (talkcontribs)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Favonian (talk) 11:58, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

– The pages titled God becomes the Universe and Shape of the Universe are the only ones that have got it right. The Universe is a place. As with the United Kingdom (only somewhat larger). And we capitalize place names, yes? And so we ought to capitalize Universe across all of these titles, to be consistent with ourselves. DeistCosmos (talk) 03:51, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment it would depend on if the universe's name is Universe or not... which is where we get into many problems in our treatment of the Solar System, the Sun, the Moon and the Earth, where many articles do not treat the Moon as the name of our moon, but just use "moon" to refer to the local moon (body orbiting a planet). And more problematically using "earth" to refer to the planet when properly this refers to dirt. Also "solar system" to refer to the local solar system instead of "Solar System" to refer to our solar system (system of stars and non-stellar bodies that orbits them in a tightly constrained manner). Similarly, the "sun", the local sun, instead of the "Sun", our sun (the local star). -- (talk) 04:39, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Well except for the expanding one, none of these titles reflect 'a' universe or 'any' universe, but 'the' universe. In my book Universe always ought to be capitalized. DeistCosmos (talk) 04:42, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
      • What do reliable sources (well respected journals, texts, or even better style guides) have to say on the matter? --Jayron32 05:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
        • Whatever it is, some of these are already wrong, since they're not internally consistent. DeistCosmos (talk) 05:34, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: As discussed above, we need to be consistent regardless, so pointing out the inconsistency is good. A secondary point is that we should not imply through our prose or internal styling that there is more than one universe, since there is no explicit evidence for any universe other than the one that we are in. That means that the analogy with "the Solar System" is wrong. I have no real preference for or against capitalization, but both of these points need to be ovserved in any resolution of the problem. (talk) 13:39, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's the titles of God becomes the Universe and Shape of the Universe that need to be changed to decapitalize universe; note that in the bodies of those articles (except for the first sentence of the former) the word is consistently lowercased. I can't find universe specifically mentioned in any style manual I have at hand, but that's probably because they suppose that no one would think of capitalizing it as a proper name. It's essentially universally lowercase in running prose. Deor (talk) 15:08, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The NASA Style Guide specifically says not to capitalize universe. - Aoidh (talk) 15:55, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Do you capitalize your mother's name, Aoidh? Because the Universe is our mother, our Creator. I actually think it to be disrespectful to not capitalize it. I am surprised that NASA would so advise. But I would point put again, two pages in this series do capitalize Universe, and they are the correct ones. Everybody seems to agree that all of these pages ought to be capitalized consistently, but if this move fails they won't be. If you want the other pages to be lowercased, you'll have to be the one to propose that, because I absolutely never will. DeistCosmos (talk) 17:25, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
      • FWIW - seems a mother's name may be capitalized, but not the word mother; likewise, a universe's name may be capitalized perhaps, but not the word universe - at least this seems to make sense to me at the moment - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:41, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I would capitalize her name but I would not capitalize mother, so that's not a good comparison. Unless you have a reliable source that says that it would be disrespectful to not capitalize universe, that just seems like an appeal to emotion. Do you have any reliable sources (especially style guides or manuals of style) that would support capitalizing universe in such a way? If not, then I can only go with what reliable sources are on hand, and those specifically state that universe should not be capitalized. - Aoidh (talk) 17:33, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • What if your mother's name were Mother? Or if that was simply the only way you called her? To tackle this from an opposite tack, our planet is named Earth; our galaxy is named Milky Way. So what, then, is our Universe named? What is it, if not Universe? DeistCosmos (talk) 18:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • "What if" is irrelevant, especially when based on a flawed comparison. Do you have any reliable sources that support what you're saying? If you're planning on convincing anyone that universe should be capitalized, that is what matters. - Aoidh (talk) 18:57, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • That's not very convincing evidence; that's not a manual of style or a style guideline or even close to a well-known work; it's a book published by an independent publisher and is demonstrably the exception and not the rule, as per the rather overwhelming evidence below. Since initially commenting I've taken a good look at what sources use and what manuals of style dictate, and I'm even more convinced that universe should not be capitalized per Modern English convention. - Aoidh (talk) 00:43, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Aoidh, who found an actual reliable source on the matter, and is to be commended for that, since that helps settle the issue. Unless and until other sources contradict that, we should go with it, and move other articles to match that. --Jayron32 16:04, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose Why not just have a redirect from the cap-U versions to the lower-u versions? TomS TDotO (talk) 16:40, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - (thanks to Aoidh above) => "Do not capitalize solar system and universe." (quoted from the NASA Style Guide) - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:15, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

FWIW - Although the word "universe" is not referred to directly, perhaps the following quotes from the WP:MOS may help in some way?

Copied from MOS - General:

Celestrial bodies

  • When used generally, the words sun, earth, and moon do not take capitals (The sun was peeking over the mountain top; The tribal people of the Americas thought of the whole earth as their home), except when the entity is personified (Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the Roman sun god) or when the term names a specific astronomical body (The Moon orbits the Earth; but Io is a moon of Jupiter).
  • Names of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, stars, constellations, and galaxies are proper nouns, and therefore capitalized (The planet Mars can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux; Halley's Comet is the most famous of the periodic comets; The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy). The first letter of every word in such a name is capitalized (Alpha Centauri and not Alpha centauri; Milky Way, not Milky way).

Copied from MOS - Celestrial Bodies:

Celestrial bodies

  • The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper nouns) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter). However, they are capitalized in personifications, as in Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the Roman sun god.
  • Names of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, stars, constellations, and galaxies are proper nouns and begin with a capital letter (The planet Mars can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux). The first letter of every word in such a name is capitalized (Alpha Centauri and not Alpha centauri; Milky Way, not Milky way). In the case of compounds with generic terms such as comet and galaxy (but not star or planet), follow the International Astronomical Union's recommended style and include the generic as part of the name and capitalize it (Halley's Comet is the most famous of the periodic comets; Astronomers describe the Andromeda Galaxy as a spiral galaxy).

Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 21:20, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Most interesting that "Universe" is excluded. Naturally, there are many suns and moons and solar systems. But only one Universe that we know of. I would ask, as well, do we consider our Universe to be a "celestial body"? DeistCosmos (talk) 21:49, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, it is interesting - fortunately, we have the NASA Style Guide to help us along imo - and use the lower-case for "universe" (ie, "Do not capitalize solar system and universe.") - as does NASA - thanks in any regards - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 22:38, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

BRIEF Followup - seems Wiktionary uses the lower-case version of "universe" and designates the capitalized version as "dated or religious" - hope this helps in some way - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 22:58, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

If that's what you're worried about, I assure you that I will personally initiate move discussions for those two articles as soon as this one ends. Deor (talk) 23:46, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
And I assure you that I cannot support a move in the wrong direction, overall. DeistCosmos (talk) 23:55, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

ALSO - The Oxford Dictionary uses the lower-case of "universe" as follows:

Copied from the => Oxford Dictionary


noun (the universe) all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos. The universe is believed to be at least 10 billion light years in diameter and contains a vast number of galaxies; it has been expanding since its creation in the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago.

Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 00:30, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

ALSO - The Encyclopedia Britannica uses the lower-case of "universe" as follows:

Copied from the => Encyclopedia Britannica


the whole cosmic system of matter and energy of which Earth, and therefore the human race, is a part. Humanity has traveled a long road since societies imagined Earth, the Sun, and the Moon as the main objects of creation, with the rest of the universe being formed almost as an afterthought. Today it is known that Earth is only a small ball of rock in a space of unimaginable vastness and that the birth of the solar system was probably only one event among many that occurred against the backdrop of an already mature universe.

Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 00:45, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

OVERALL - NASA, WIKTIONARY, OXFORD DICTIONARY and ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA *ALL* use the lower-case version of "universe" - seems clear to me at the moment - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 00:58, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose – The universe is generally not capitalized. --Article editor (talk) 03:43, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose or be tolerant - Merriam-Webster also uses lowercase. So far, if you feel the need to be "consistent", the sources agree that it is lowercase.
I don't see the need to change anything, R from other capitalisation is always there. Also, Wikipedia doesn't have One Style To Rule Them All. Paradoctor (talk) 05:03, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per Dior, I think we should rather decapitalize "Universe" in the two titles that got it wrong. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 16:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move aftershock[edit]

And what, then, if there is no support for "decapitalizing" the other two? Are we not then left with a foolish inconsistency? This is awry. DeistCosmos (talk) 02:10, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

You did not provide a reason why "consistency" is required. I provided a reason why it can be accepted. Maybe Wikipedia:I_just_don't_like_it#Title_discussions is helpful? Paradoctor (talk) 04:27, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
It hardly makes sense to deem the proposed new title to be the "wrong" title when other pages already sit at this "wrong" title. Their existence invalidates the claims upon which this request was rejected by all who contended that there was but one right way. DeistCosmos (talk) 04:53, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

FWIW - if "consistency" is truly a concern, it's *entirely* ok with me to rename the two articles - to be consistent with the consensus view (of lower-case "universe") as discussed earlier - ie, "Shape of the Universe" can be renamed "Shape of the universe" and "God becomes the Universe" can be renamed "God becomes the universe" instead - an administrator may be needed to delete the related Redirect pages first - to make room for the renaming move - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:01, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

I'd support moving Shape of the Universe to Shape of the universe. I don't know about God becomes the Universe; it seems like a philosophical view of the universe, not a physical one, so I'm not sure if consistency applies. But a move would still be OK. --Article editor (talk) 17:47, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Brief Followup - Thanks for your comments - yes, I agree - changing to the lower-case "universe" seems entirely ok for the "Shape of the universe" article - less so perhaps, for the "God becomes the Universe" article - although it should be noted that the lower-case "universe" is used extensively in the lede and throughout the "God becomes the Universe" article - in any regards - Thanks again - and - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 18:33, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Consistency entirely applies -- God becomes the Universe is a statement on the physical reality of our Universe, a proposition this it originates from a deity-becoming process -- and is all the more reason why the capitalization issue was wrongly addressed above. Additionally, I would add that there has been no process to support a move of either article, and in fact it has been proposed several times on that talk page to move Shape of the Universe to the lowercase, and each time this has been rejected under the determination that the capitalization of Universe is, in fact, correct (views of User:Deor and User:Aoidh expressed above notwithstanding). DeistCosmos (talk) 18:40, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
FWIW - Not everyone may believe in your stated proposition of the universe (which is scientifically untestable) and may consider other (more testable) explanations instead - one recent scientific approach may be well described in The Grand Design (book) for example, which suggests the universe came about, and operates, without the need of any God (or Gods) - in the words of the book's physicist author, Stephen Hawking, "One can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessary." - and also - "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." - perhaps this may help explain the word "universe" - with a lower-case - rather than capitalized (suggesting a more religious POV - see wiktionary:universe) - in any regards - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 20:44, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
A bit offtopic, and especially of no relation to the multiple failed attempts to rename Shape of the Universe[1][2]. DeistCosmos (talk) 20:58, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
I've initiated move requests at both Shape of the Universe and God becomes the Universe. Deor (talk) 21:14, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Age in years?[edit]

It is not at all clear whether we are using the year as the common today's calendar year. What happens to time when we move close to the singularity or near the edge? Can we define time in another consistent fashion?

The article is not for experts: they do not need it. It is for common people who are simply curious. You need to be both simple and accurate. Whole system is relativistic and the concepts of space-time-mass-energy are all mixed up, right?

In the begining, there was no earth and hence the definition of year is invalid. After the earth disappers, the definition loses reference. I am confused in the same manner about mass and energy. chami 19:37, 2 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ck.mitra (talkcontribs)

It uses "year" to have its common meaning (3.16 × 107 seconds, or today's calendar year). Is that confusing? It would never occur to me that year meant anything else. The parenthetical statement with the age of the universe in seconds removes any ambiguity for those who are confused. I think introducing any other meaning of year would be unnecessarily complicated (and a complication that the professional literature never gets into). —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 22:30, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Sorry that I was not clear enough. In the relativisitc sense, there is something called time dilation and 1s is not 1s all the time and everywhere. If I understand correctly, 1s is different for different people and at different times. We have to mention the observer (and I do not know what else) and the time will be different for different people. Is it correct? Or, all these time dilations and space curvatures do not affect the age? Let me put it another way. Suppose I was present during the birth and today I am somewhat near the middle of the universe (whatever that may be) and the age by my clock will be same for all? Even if I am close the edge or on earth? I need to look up the twin paradox but can you be more clear.-- chami 17:07, 4 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ck.mitra (talkcontribs)
Like every reference I'm aware of, the age of the universe is expressed in this article in the present-day reference frame of the Earth (or, equivalently, the Sun, the Milky Way, the Local Group, or the Local Supercluster). The differences between what observers anywhere outside very local phenomena like black holes anywhere will observe are many orders of magnitude smaller than the uncertainty in the measurement of the age of the universe. —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 19:54, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

The age and size of the universe[edit]

How is it possible to detect stars from 100 billion light years away if the Universe is only 13 billion years old? How can anything out there in the Universe be beyond where light traveling since the Big Bang has yet to reach? Is it possible for two objects to be become separated in space by more than the distance light could have traveled? (talk) 20:50, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I think the opening section of Observable universe is a good discussion of this. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:56, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not so much that anyone can detect objects that far away, cause they can't. They cant detect anything beyond our horizon of 13 billion some odd lightyears. What they instead do is try to make it sound like the observable universe is much bigger by pretending to know an equation for very distant objects. Something like "space has expanded since the light of the distant object has reached us", so the "true" distance of the object is far greater than the observed distance. Fact of the matter is, there is no literal equation to figure the true distance because the light we're receiving is so ancient it may as well be useless to begin with. We can't even know the true location of any stellar object over 100 lightyears away because people haven't been recording these facets of cosmology long enough to make predictions. In short, it's just a bunch of humbug - don't worry. (talk) 22:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Yep. It's that space is expanding, not that the objects are traveling. Anyway, per WP:NOTFORUM, you're best off asking at the reference desk next time. This page is for discussing improvements to the article. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 21:58, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Age of the universe is truly unknown.[edit]

if interstellar objects are moving away from each other at an increasinly faster rate, and some even move faster than the speed of light, then that does not excplicitly or implicitly give anyone the ability to actually measure the age of the universe.

There is an extreme logical fallacy in thinking that "light hasn't existed long enough to reach us" beyond the 13 billion someodd lightyear horizon, when taking into consideration that those distant objects are racing away even faster, therefore implying that more distant light will never ever reach us - and that we can see will in fact only grow dimmer and fade out of view over time.

That is an extremely obscene leap of faith to assume the light will ever reach us with the existence of redshift measurements.

The speed of light is not tied to the age of the universe, for the speed of light was accurately measured far before the age of the universe, which solely uses the speed of light model itself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:37, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Where is gravitational time dilation discussed in the "age of the universe"[edit]

Gravitational time dilation has been proven over and over, so if you have a change in the rate of time between the base of Empire State building and the top of the Empire State building, is the age of the universe different for the top of the Empire State Building then it is for the base of the Empire State building? I myself and not qualified to clarify this, nor do I know the answer. When we set the rate of the second, where is that rate set; sea level? Once you set the rate of the second then you get an age of the universe. Maybe the discussion of the rate of time doesn't need to be discussed on this page, but links should be created.

Katacomb (talk) 20:05, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Oldest thing in universe[edit]

It is not correct that "the universe must be at least as old as the oldest thing in it". There could be things older than the universe which have entered the universe after its creation.Royalcourtier (talk) 19:56, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Well that depends, doesn't it, on whether we're defining "Universe" to mean "everything which exists"? If so then whatever the older thing was was PA of our Universe before the rest of our Universe came about, and so simply pushes that oldest thingness back to its birthday. DeistCosmos (talk) 05:35, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

its all wrong[edit]

Sabbathart (talk) 13:30, 26 October 2014 (UTC)it is wrong to say that the universe is only 13.8 billion years old if it is true then the speed of light is not constant or was there ever a big bang its all wrong

  • Can you elucidate upon the proposition that the asserted age of our Universe requires some inconstancy of the Speed of Light? Blessings!! DeistCosmos (talk) 05:42, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Possible mistake?[edit]

The method used to calculate the age of the universe has all fixed numbers except for the Hubbert Constant, which has been determined as 67.8±0.77 in the latest studies (December 2013). However when I calculate with H0=67.80, it gives me 14.422010323923x109 years as the age of the universe (4.5511468753554x1017 s). Let me elaborate:

1 pc (parsec) = 648,000 x AU / π
1 AU = 149,597,870.7 km
1 pc = 3.085677581491 x 1013 km (approximately 31,000 billion km)
1 mpc = 106 pc = 3.085677581491 x 1019 km

This helps us find the coefficient of the expansion of the universe per second:
1/mpc = 3.2407792894448 x 10-20

Let's multiply by the Hubbert Constant:
3.2407792894448 x 10-20 x H0 = 3.2407792894448 x 10-20 x 67.8 = 2.1972483582436 x 10-18
1 / 2.1972483582436 x 10-18 = 4.5511468753554x1017 s This is the age of the universe in seconds.
1 year = 365.2425 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds = 31,556,952 seconds
4.5511468753554x1017 / 31556952 = 14.422010323923x109 years .

So, either there's something wrong in these calculations (if so, please show me what), or the age of the universe is wrong on it's main page. Thank you :) --Universal Life (talk) 16:54, 1 November 2014 (UTC)