Scientists admit mistake! The universe's age isn't 13.7 billion years!

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As it turns out, scientists have been wrong for years about the age of the universe. They told us it was approximately 13.7 billion years old, but now we know this is wrong. New evidence has just surfaced thanks to the ESA's Planck telescope mission. I bet the Creationists will jump on this admission!

Anyway, by how much were they off? Lots. Lots of years. In absolute numbers, at least: Turns out the universe - according to the current, improved scientific understanding is approximately 13.8 billion years old. They were off by about 100 million years! Boy, that's some egg on their faces.

The map results suggest the universe is expanding more slowly than scientists thought, and is 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous estimates. The data also show there is less dark energy and more matter, both normal and dark matter, in the universe than previously known. Dark matter is an invisible substance that only can be seen through the effects of its gravity, while dark energy is pushing our universe apart. The nature of both remains mysterious.

Well then. At least there are still plenty of unknowns left, right?

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/mar/HQ_13-079_Planck_Mission.html

Here's a lovely universe-map, new and updated:

image

Man, this looks awesome.

Sorry for the snark and the giddyness, I just enjoy "universe-news" when I see it.

Nobody BUT creationists expected their first theory to be 100% accurate in the first place.

As our measuring instruments get more precise this'll be wrong at some point to, they'll find they were off by a few thousand years, then a few years. Still cool to get more accurate data and that picture of the universe is pretty. Reminds me of how we used to view the universe, we were the center of it. Now we are an atom on a pimple on God's ass (that came from Earth, The book by the people who make the Daily Show)

Science was wrong about something? Well I guess its time to scrap all that and go back to worshiping the sun as if it were a god. I just need to find a virgin and a volcano to ensure a good harvest.

I think its pretty cool that just being off by a fraction of a number, they were off by 100 million years. Its always so humbling to think about what a blip we truly are in the grand scheme of things.

Slow news day somewhere.

Might just be me, but I wish whenever people talk about "dark matter" they explain what they mean. Cause, there's mysterious stuff you can't see but you know is around, and then there's mysterious stuff that you can't see but you know is around. And those aren't the same.

thaluikhain:
Slow news day somewhere.

Might just be me, but I wish whenever people talk about "dark matter" they explain what they mean.

I think Tyson put it like this: "It's a placeholder expression. Might as well call it 'Fred'. We don't know what it is, we just have reason to believe it's there."

Vegosiux:

thaluikhain:
Slow news day somewhere.

Might just be me, but I wish whenever people talk about "dark matter" they explain what they mean.

I think Tyson put it like this: "It's a placeholder expression. Might as well call it 'Fred'. We don't know what it is, we just have reason to believe it's there."

Which is fair enough, only the name is vague and it gets applied to more than one thing.

ooooohhhh pretty.

Now for the sake of mankind's ego, how close to the center of the universe are we?

Ryotknife:
ooooohhhh pretty.

Now for the sake of mankind's ego, how close to the center of the universe are we?

Can't claim to understand cosmology and space-time-geometry all that much, but to my vague knowledge, there isn't such a thing as an actual center. As it's expanding, everything is moving away from everything else. Dunno how much sense that makes.

Skeleon:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/mar/HQ_13-079_Planck_Mission.html

It's pretty, but I have no idea what I'm looking at. Or from what perspective. I'm assuming it's not a top-down view ala traditional maps. That would seem quite impossible if this is actual imagery.

LetalisK:

Skeleon:

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/mar/HQ_13-079_Planck_Mission.html

It's pretty, but I have no idea what I'm looking at. Or from what perspective. I'm assuming it's not a top-down view ala traditional maps. That would seem quite impossible if this is actual imagery.

It's a 360 degree map of the sky. It folds up into a spherical shape, with the viewer in the centre.

It's a map of microwave radiation. The interesting stuff is the cosmic microwave background, which you can see no matter where in the universe you look. It's essentially the first light in the universe, the residual glow from after the Big Bang. Studying its precise features tells us stuff about the distribution of matter in the early universe, and measuring its temperature can tell us how old the universe is.

Edit: Anyway, what's way more interesting is the apparent changes to the proportions of dark matter, dark energy, and baryonic matter. That stuff has some pretty important ramifications in cosmology, it affects how curved the universe is and its eventual fate.

Redingold:
That stuff has some pretty important ramifications in cosmology, it affects how curved the universe is and its eventual fate.

Hope it means the universe has a more interesting fate than heat death and utter mind boggling boringness. Not that it's my problem.

Skeleon:

Ryotknife:
ooooohhhh pretty.

Now for the sake of mankind's ego, how close to the center of the universe are we?

Can't claim to understand cosmology and space-time-geometry all that much, but to my vague knowledge, there isn't such a thing as an actual center. As it's expanding, everything is moving away from everything else. Dunno how much sense that makes.

I think it can be argued that everywhere is the centre. Or as Terry Pratchett put it "Everything is in the same place, although admittedly that place is very big." (can't recall exact quote, but it was something like that).

Shame this isn't a religion or then, since one thing was slightly off, everyone would denounce science and say you can't trust anything it says.

I saw that one coming a mile away...

But its good that they aren't just accepting things.

Assassin Xaero:
Shame this isn't a religion or then, since one thing was slightly off, everyone would denounce science and say you can't trust anything it says.

It's almost as if science provides substantial and persuasive reasons for the conclusions that are derived by its method.

Novel.

I like to imagine at least one YEC clicked on this thread in hopes of being proven right, read the second paragraph and went "aw, man"...
Hello mister science denier, whoever you might be!

Assassin Xaero:
Shame this isn't a religion or then, since one thing was slightly off, everyone would denounce science and say you can't trust anything it says.

Some people already do. Never heard those folks complain that "science always changes its mind"?

You mean they got something wrong by 00.1 in one field, on one subject, in one figure?
Well, obviously this is absolute and concrete proof that science as a whole has failed us and should never be trusted. Now, excuse me while I go post this on other internet sites on my computer, and send it to all my friends through my smartphone.

/Sarcasm

thaluikhain:
Slow news day somewhere.

Might just be me, but I wish whenever people talk about "dark matter" they explain what they mean. Cause, there's mysterious stuff you can't see but you know is around, and then there's mysterious stuff that you can't see but you know is around. And those aren't the same.

Galaxys act as if they have extra mass. It's not a matter of off by a little it's off by hundreds of thousands of Solar masses.
Dark matter is the explanation of this mass. As it seems there is something with mass but dose not effect light in the same way as the rest of the matter. It's called dark matter for this reason because we can't see it.

WouldYouKindly:

Hope it means the universe has a more interesting fate than heat death and utter mind boggling boringness. Not that it's my problem.

If I could pick and choose, I'd vote for the Big Rip myself. The idea of the universe going out by tearing itself a new one somehow appeals to me. No idea why, it's just dynamic and all. And yeah the heat death is an utterly boring scenario.

Skeleon:
As it turns out, scientists have been wrong for years about the age of the universe. They told us it was approximately 13.7 billion years old, but now we know this is wrong. New evidence has just surfaced thanks to the ESA's Planck telescope mission. I bet the Creationists will jump on this admission!

Anyway, by how much were they off? Lots. Lots of years. In absolute numbers, at least: Turns out the universe - according to the current, improved scientific understanding is approximately 13.8 billion years old. They were off by about 100 million years! Boy, that's some egg on their faces.

Dang it, looks like I'm going to have to give up science for good for this betrayal. Creationism was right and- Wait, no. I'm being told that everything is working as intended. Cancel that first statement.

thaluikhain:

Vegosiux:

thaluikhain:
Slow news day somewhere.

Might just be me, but I wish whenever people talk about "dark matter" they explain what they mean.

I think Tyson put it like this: "It's a placeholder expression. Might as well call it 'Fred'. We don't know what it is, we just have reason to believe it's there."

Which is fair enough, only the name is vague and it gets applied to more than one thing.

Dark matter is a type of matter that does not emit or absorb any significant quantities of radiation.

This means it is effectively invisible to nearly every tool we have. This makes the stuff extremely difficult to detect and even harder to properly study. I think the name is quite appropriate and specific, it is quite literally matter that is almost as dark as it is possible to be.

Heronblade:

thaluikhain:

Vegosiux:

I think Tyson put it like this: "It's a placeholder expression. Might as well call it 'Fred'. We don't know what it is, we just have reason to believe it's there."

Which is fair enough, only the name is vague and it gets applied to more than one thing.

Dark matter is a type of matter that does not emit or absorb any significant quantities of radiation.

This means it is effectively invisible to nearly every tool we have. This makes the stuff extremely difficult to detect and even harder to properly study. I think the name is quite appropriate and specific, it is quite literally matter that is almost as dark as it is possible to be.

Nope, it's matter that does not interact with any of the forces of the universe other than gravity.
It cannot absorb or emit light since it does not interact with the electromagnetic field...

Huh. Guess I better memorize a new number. (Who am I kidding?)

Assassin Xaero:
Shame this isn't a religion or then, since one thing was slightly off, everyone would denounce science and say you can't trust anything it says.

I don't think scientists ever claim to know everything. Sometimes they're just pretty sure, until something proves them wrong. That's the scientific method.

Religion claims knowledge and authority for many things, so if you take religious books literally then whenever a part is proven wrong, it casts doubt on the validity of the religion.

Unless you're taking a passage metaphorically of course or if you're picking the passages you like, but that just opens another can of worms of whether you're actually allowed to do that.

Not to be a dick or anything. It just seems like comparing apples to oranges.

Vegosiux:

WouldYouKindly:

Hope it means the universe has a more interesting fate than heat death and utter mind boggling boringness. Not that it's my problem.

If I could pick and choose, I'd vote for the Big Rip myself. The idea of the universe going out by tearing itself a new one somehow appeals to me. No idea why, it's just dynamic and all. And yeah the heat death is an utterly boring scenario.

I prefer the idea of the "Big Bounce". The universe collapses, then expands, then collapses again. The universe never "ends" then.

Verbatim:
Nope, it's matter that does not interact with any of the forces of the universe other than gravity.
It cannot absorb or emit light since it does not interact with the electromagnetic field...

Yep, dark matter was theorised to explain the discrepancy between certain accepted cosmological models and observation based on mass/gravity interactions (and where everything else lines up according to the models). If a form of exotic matter does more than resolve the discrepancy it would bugger up the models and remove the need for dark matter to be theorised in the first place, so it couldn't be dark matter per se. The name could be co-opted but that would just lead to confusion... it would be akin to trying to understand germ theory if bacteria had be named 'demons'.

Hell in science you even get points for proving your self wrong. As it should be when you pursue truth and knowledge.

Assassin Xaero:
Shame this isn't a religion or then, since one thing was slightly off, everyone would denounce science and say you can't trust anything it says.

If science did that, it would get nowhere. It would be stuck in the same mud pool like religion is.
And then it would not be science anymore.

Verbatim:

Heronblade:

thaluikhain:

Which is fair enough, only the name is vague and it gets applied to more than one thing.

Dark matter is a type of matter that does not emit or absorb any significant quantities of radiation.

This means it is effectively invisible to nearly every tool we have. This makes the stuff extremely difficult to detect and even harder to properly study. I think the name is quite appropriate and specific, it is quite literally matter that is almost as dark as it is possible to be.

Nope, it's matter that does not interact with any of the forces of the universe other than gravity.
It cannot absorb or emit light since it does not interact with the electromagnetic field...

Not quite. It's possible for it to be weakly interacting, i.e. interacting via the weak nuclear force, which is also responsible for radioactive decay. One of the most likely candidates for what dark matter is made of is WIMPs, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

Redingold:

Verbatim:

Heronblade:

Dark matter is a type of matter that does not emit or absorb any significant quantities of radiation.

This means it is effectively invisible to nearly every tool we have. This makes the stuff extremely difficult to detect and even harder to properly study. I think the name is quite appropriate and specific, it is quite literally matter that is almost as dark as it is possible to be.

Nope, it's matter that does not interact with any of the forces of the universe other than gravity.
It cannot absorb or emit light since it does not interact with the electromagnetic field...

Not quite. It's possible for it to be weakly interacting, i.e. interacting via the weak nuclear force, which is also responsible for radioactive decay. One of the most likely candidates for what dark matter is made of is WIMPs, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

WIMP's are not "candidates", they are a proposed solution for dark matter, they are also not predicted by the standard model.
The issue with WIMP's is that one of the premises for the standard model is the Electroweak Force(or interaction), which unified both forces(The Weak Force and Electromagnetism) into a singular field. This means that when you can interact with the classical "weak" force, you also have to be able to interact with the classical "electromagnetism" AKA light.

Verbatim:

Redingold:

Verbatim:

Nope, it's matter that does not interact with any of the forces of the universe other than gravity.
It cannot absorb or emit light since it does not interact with the electromagnetic field...

Not quite. It's possible for it to be weakly interacting, i.e. interacting via the weak nuclear force, which is also responsible for radioactive decay. One of the most likely candidates for what dark matter is made of is WIMPs, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

WIMP's are not "candidates", they are a proposed solution for dark matter, they are also not predicted by the standard model.
The issue with WIMP's is that one of the premises for the standard model is the Electroweak Force(or interaction), which unified both forces(The Weak Force and Electromagnetism) into a singular field. This means that when you can interact with the classical "weak" force, you also have to be able to interact with the classical "electromagnetism" AKA light.

In what way are "candidate" and "proposed solution" different? They mean the same thing.

The Standard Model is known to be incomplete, as it does not explain gravitation, neutrino masses, dark matter, matter-antimatter asymmetry and it gives values for dark energy that are wrong by 120 orders of magnitude (which is bad even by the standards of cosmology) so whether it predicts the existence of other particles or not makes no difference.

As for the electroweak force, that only appears at high energy levels. At lower temperatures, symmetry breaking means that its entirely possible for a particle to feel one and not the other. The thing responsible for the symmetry breaking is the Higgs mechanism, which was observed last year.

ClockworkPenguin:
I think it can be argued that everywhere is the centre.

Yeah. And considering it's not just galaxies drifting apart but space itself that is still expanding, it'd be pretty hard to pinpoint any "fixed spot" in the first place... never mind any "fixed spot at the center".

They revised to a smaller estimate of the Hubble constant too. Huzzah the sphere is slightly larger than we thought!

Redingold:

Verbatim:

Redingold:

Not quite. It's possible for it to be weakly interacting, i.e. interacting via the weak nuclear force, which is also responsible for radioactive decay. One of the most likely candidates for what dark matter is made of is WIMPs, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

WIMP's are not "candidates", they are a proposed solution for dark matter, they are also not predicted by the standard model.
The issue with WIMP's is that one of the premises for the standard model is the Electroweak Force(or interaction), which unified both forces(The Weak Force and Electromagnetism) into a singular field. This means that when you can interact with the classical "weak" force, you also have to be able to interact with the classical "electromagnetism" AKA light.

In what way are "candidate" and "proposed solution" different? They mean the same thing.

The Standard Model is known to be incomplete, as it does not explain gravitation, neutrino masses, dark matter, matter-antimatter asymmetry and it gives values for dark energy that are wrong by 120 orders of magnitude (which is bad even by the standards of cosmology) so whether it predicts the existence of other particles or not makes no difference.

As for the electroweak force, that only appears at high energy levels. At lower temperatures, symmetry breaking means that its entirely possible for a particle to feel one and not the other. The thing responsible for the symmetry breaking is the Higgs mechanism, which was observed last year.

Actually the scientific community is eagerly awaiting an important paper, due out any day now, on dark matter. The paper is the first published results of an eighteen year long experiment conducted by the 2 billion dollar instrument known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is bolted onto the International Space Station. The AMS surveys the skies for high-energy particles, or cosmic rays. The experiment might confirm that dark matter is made of WIMPs.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21495800

Now that we've talked about the birth of the universe, let's talk about theories on the universe's death! My favorite is the Big Crunch theory. For those who do not know, this theory states that (basically) the universe will stretch itself as far as it possibly can and then switch into reverse, pulling everything inward towards the center of the universe. All matter, dark matter, and energy will be brought together into a single spot and then another big bang is likely to occur.

My least favorite theory is the head-death theory about entropy and more sciency stuff. Although it did result in the creation of some interesting short story I recall reading...
What are your favorite theories about the end of the universe! Bonus points if they contain a tear in reality or a super monster.

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