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krrazypassions's avatar

How do we know the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years?

Asked by krrazypassions (1332 points ) May 16th, 2011

We say the universe is 13.7 billion years old, while the farthest matter we have ‘looked’ at is about 480 million years older than our Universe’s supposed birth-moment
(to experts) Why haven’t we seen further than that? Is it because of the limitations of our equipment or because light from that far hasn’t reached us yet? And if we cannot see further than that, on what basis do we calculate the age of our universe?

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10 Answers

kess's avatar

One cannot subscribe an age to the universe because the universe itself exist outside the realm of Time…

Infact time can only exist where there is limitations and containment as in this present earth. An everything which this age consist of has its origin without Time.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I suggest you read up on Inflation Theory to see why we can see objects a greater distance away than what the age of the universe may initially seem to suggest. We will never see too much further than we currently have because we are only seeing proto-galaxies and quasars at those distances. Before they formed, the universe was a quark-gluon plasma which emitted a fog of photons. These are now visible as very cold photons, thanks to the extreme redshift effect over those distances, as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation.

The age of the universe is calculated from the temperature of the CMB. We know from nucleosynthesis theories that photons formed at the point where a quark-gluon plasma condenses into atomic binding have a particular energy. From that constant, and measured averages of what we observe today, we can calculate how long it has been cooling, and hence the age of the universe.

FutureMemory's avatar

@kess I don’t understand your post. A lot.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@FutureMemory Our friend @kess subscribes to mystic ideas of the universe and time, which I have not personally been able to fathom. He seems to believe, contrary to current leading theory, that the universe is infinite. (@kess, please correct me if I have misrepresented your ideas).

kess's avatar

Those who would understand me are those who know of their origin and their purpose…And this they would see as to be exactly the same as the universe’s.
Mystics are merely labels of men unto men…. I am far beyond any man’s Label.

I am contrary to this world because this world is ignorant for they thrive on popularity of belief.

Life taught me Truth so therefore I am knowledge….For this is the purpose of this Life that men may know Truth…but because they have made Life into something else they have also locked Truth away in ignorance.

Truth brings singularity to all things.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@kess Thanks for the clarification. I’d like to discuss this with you elsewhere, but a ‘general’ thread is probably not the place.

kess's avatar

Any time is great though at this present time I am leaving the pc…so therefore response may not be as timely as you may like but respond I will….

rts486's avatar

We don’t, it’s just speculation.

monovuelo's avatar

According to the following website, http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/age.html , the age of the universe is calculated using three central measurements: 1) the age of chemical elements; 2) the age of the oldest star clusters and; 3) the age of the oldest white dwarf stars. These calculations cross-referenced with each other it is through these that the age of the universe has been calculated by physicists. I’m not sure what kind of acid kess dropped before posting, but I think that his answer/s needs to be in “Timothy Leary’s Folder of Psychedelic Transcendence”

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