How did the universe form? Take the quiz.
If we took a journey back through the history of the universe, what would we see? Take our Forming the Universe Quiz to see what you know about galaxies, stars, gases, gods and more.start quiz
Question 1 of 20
What does the big bang theory attempt to explain?
... The big bang theory describes how the universe expanded from an incredibly hot, small, dense state into the range of space and galaxies we know today. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the theory does not explain how the universe came into being.
Question 2 of 20
The maturation of the material universe has been guided by four fundamental types of force. What are they?
... Scientists believe that the big bang created the four fundamental forces of physics: gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force and a strong nuclear force. Before the big bang, all of these forces were probably one single force.
Question 3 of 20
What discovery was taken as direct evidence of the big bang theory?
... Edwin Hubble noticed that all galaxies appear to be moving away from us in all directions. It's not because they don't like us. In fact, if they could observe us, we would appear to be moving away from them. It's all because the universe is expanding.
Question 4 of 20
What does the inflation theory propose?
... The inflation theory says the young universe expanded extremely rapidly for a period of time before relaxing and settling into a slower rate of expansion.
Question 5 of 20
According to the inflation theory, how long did it take for the universe to expand from the size of a gumball to the astronomical scale?
... According to the inflation theory, it took the universe only a trillion-trillionth of a second to go from something that would fit into the palm of your hand to something huge and mysterious.
Question 6 of 20
Which of the following observations do some people claim presents problems for the big bang theory?
... NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) has showed that, in geometrical terms, our universe appears fairly flat. According to the big bang theory, it should show increasing curvature. Inflation theory is one way to reconcile this conflict.
Question 7 of 20
What do cosmologists do?
... Cosmologists have the small task of studying the universe itself -- usually, they focus on the structure and history of space and time.
Question 8 of 20
How did the first stars in the universe take shape?
... Huge collections of gases contracted under the force of gravity, becoming the hot, powerful, luminous objects we know as stars.
Question 9 of 20
What would be the normal magnitude categorization of a galaxy with 1.5 billion stars?
... Dwarf galaxies may have up to several billion stars. The Milky Way -- our home galaxy -- has at least 100 billion stars, and it's of a fairly average size.
Question 10 of 20
Galaxies are categorized by shape. What type of galaxy is the Milky Way?
... The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, which features a central concentration of stars and "arms" that pinwheel around it.
Question 11 of 20
How do galaxies form?
... There are several theories about the exact mechanics of galaxy formation, but they all involve the force of gravity acting upon giant pockets of gas.
Question 12 of 20
What do deists generally believe about the origin of the universe?
... The prevailing idea among deists is that the universe was probably put together by an intelligent creator who takes no active role in human affairs.
Question 13 of 20
As the Earth was forming, what material sank underneath the other layers of crust to become Earth's core?
... Early in its formation, Earth acquired the iron core that gives the planet its protective magnetosphere. This invisible barrier helps protect the planet's inhabitants from deadly solar winds.
Question 14 of 20
Approximately how old is our solar system?
... Our solar system only about 4.5 billion years old -- just a kid when compared to the almost 14 billion year-old universe.
Question 15 of 20
Which planets in our solar system are referred to as "terrestrial"?
... Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are terrestrial planets because they have solid, rocky surfaces. However, this doesn't mean that those surfaces are anything like that of Earth. A walk on the surface of Venus, for example, would be something like walking around inside a highly toxic pressure cooker.
Question 16 of 20
What is the essence of the cosmological principle?
... According to the cosmological principle, our universe is uniformly distributed on all scales, both large and small, and no place is privileged.
Question 17 of 20
What element makes up most of the mass of stars like our sun?
... Stars tend to be made mostly of hydrogen and helium, with the greatest portion of their mass being single-proton hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is also the most commonly occurring element in the universe.
Question 18 of 20
Any explanation of the origin of the universe falls into this category.
... Cosmogony refers to any theory about the origin of the universe.
Question 19 of 20
What belief is at the core of chaotic inflation theory?
... The chaotic inflation theory hypothesizes an endless progression of inflationary bubbles that become universes. This brushes right up against the idea of parallel universes.
Question 20 of 20
Which association of scientists endorses the idea that the universe was created by a single, all-powerful deity?
... American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) is an organization of scientists who believe that the universe was created by the hand of the Christian God.
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