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Scientists Take Most Accurate Reading Yet of Universe's Cooling

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the you-feel-a-little-warm dept.

Space 91

angry tapir writes "An international team of astronomers has used the CSIRO-run Australia Telescope Compact Array to measure the cooling of the universe since the Big Bang. According to the CSIRO, it is the most accurate reading yet of how hot the universe used to be. When the universe was half its current age its temperature was -267.92 degrees Celsius (5.08 Kelvin), the team found, which is warmer than today's universe (-270.27 degrees Celsius)."

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91 comments

Reaffirms my theory (1)

chris.evans (969548) | about a year ago | (#42675731)

That the universe will not end in a fire ball, but a deep freeze.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (2)

CurunirAran (2811035) | about a year ago | (#42676133)

Yeah, heat death is most probably how the world will end, unless some radical new insight is thought up.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year ago | (#42676415)

in 5 billion years, it will be sad to see the Earth engulfed in a red giant, but we willprobably be able to move the Earth to the appropriate distance by then.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676771)

Or in 6 billion years a great white hot flash will pass through all the known universe re-organizing it and vaporizing black holes. We just can't predict what will happen that far ahead... so until you become immortal you can fantasize all you want about the end of the universe.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

Nocturnal Deviant (974688) | about a year ago | (#42677105)

I'd rather fantasize than permanently not be able to breathe floating around in a vacuum with no other life forms for a millennia/ever.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42677111)

Actually we can (to the same degree of certainty that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow).

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42677993)

Until a magnetic pole shift occurs, then it rises in the west - and I don't think it is possible to predict exactly when these will occur, only rough time windows. There have been plenty of shifts in the past, IIRC one is due soon. (For the geological definition of "soon".)

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42681195)

Until a magnetic pole shift occurs, then it rises in the west

MAGNETIC POLE SHIFTS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

-Morbo

Re:Reaffirms my theory (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#42677227)

Or in 6 billion years a great white hot flash will pass through all the known universe...

Galactic Menopause?

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | about a year ago | (#42677549)

No, the great core explosion; this is why the Puppeteers have sent the fleet of worlds to escape the disaster.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42695045)

But we don't know any of that yet, 'cause Beowulf Shaffer hasn't discovered the Core Explosion yet. Really, keep your antecedents in order, there.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42695067)

Wait, the Fleet of Worlds predated Bey Shaffer's flight. How'd that happen?

Re:Reaffirms my theory (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#42677091)

it will be sad to see the Earth engulfed in a red giant

Don't worry, although that fate is inevitable there's no chance you will be there to see it. Besides, it's only 0.5 billion years until the oceans evaporate and Earth resembles Venus.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

CurunirAran (2811035) | about a year ago | (#42677159)

Heat Death is where the Universe expands so much that heat 'dies', i.e., there is not enough thermodynamic free energy (U) left when you consider the Universe as a closed system.

This implies that there is not enough energy available to perform energy consuming processes.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676959)

Yeah, that's well known established fact...

Re:Reaffirms my theory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42677127)

"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost [ketzle.com]

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42677757)

'Poetry sucks! When I grow up, I want to be a fireman.'

Found written in a cartoon speech bubble above Robert Frost's head on the used copy of 'Robert Frost's Poems' I was forced to buy/read in HS.

That phrase was the best thing in/on that book.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42680581)

That the universe will not end in a fire ball, but a deep freeze.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Re:Reaffirms my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42681807)

That the universe will not end in a fire ball, but a deep freeze.

No, someone will discover exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

Universal cooling (4, Funny)

InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) | about a year ago | (#42675775)

We need to start pumping more carbon dioxide into the universe!

Re:Universal cooling (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42679517)

Don't worry this universal cooling thing is just a great big hoax designed to spur the passage of anti-freedom pollution regulations before the supposed "heat death of the universe." Just ignore the alarmists, the universe has been cooling for a long time and I'm sure it can adapt.

Fail, fail, fail. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675777)

267.92C is 5.23 K, not 5.08 K, and 270.27C is freaking hot.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675793)

... and also, Slashdot ate my unicode characters. Come on, Slashdot, join us in the 21st century! You'll be fine, I promise!

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676063)

unicode sucks

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42679239)

I hate to break it on you, but the minus sign is ASCII, and last time I checked, Slashdot leaves ASCII characters alone... But maybe you browser (or OS?) doesn't?

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | about a year ago | (#42680431)

He was presumably talking about the degrees symbol (U+00B0).

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42680467)

No, he was talking about both the minus and the degree sign. But you are right the degree symbol is indeed not ASCII, but ISO-Latin-1 (a very common 8 bit charset which is a subset of ASCII). Oddly enough, Slashdot still removes it, even though it predates Unicode.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

anarcobra (1551067) | about a year ago | (#42675815)

no,
it's 541.07K

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675855)

You are correct, but I'd like to reiterate that slashdot ate my unicode characters. Both my minus sign and my degrees symbol. :(

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42679225)

The minus sign is plain ASCII. And Slashdot doesn't eat ASCII characters.

-273.15

So, next time, be smart and use a browser which doesn't mangle your input! (pun intended)

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | about a year ago | (#42680457)

That's U+002D HYPHEN-MINUS, which is in ASCII. But U+2212 MINUS SIGN, assuming that's what he tried to use, is not in ASCII.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42680503)

Why the hell would he do such a braindead thing? Or is this a case of pre-typing his comment in Word, which mangles it, before copy-pasting it back into the browser. Or does Internet Exploder now also do "smart-quotes" (smart minus?)

As I said in one other comment, the minus sign is in all character sets, even the oldest one, because it is a sign for an arithmetic operation. And arithmetic signs were present in character sets since the dawn of the computing age, since computation was their primary purpose back then. Just picture a pocket calculator without a - ...

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Kizul Emeraldfire (2719487) | about a year ago | (#42692899)

...And arithmetic signs were present in character sets since the dawn of the computing age, since computation was their primary purpose back then. ...

Technically, the only proper mathematical operator that's ever been available for use on any keyboard is the + character. The proper symbol for subtraction has never been available (instead, we've made do with the hyphen), and the asterisk and forward slash have all but entirely replaced the '×' and '÷' characters*.

The proper arithmetic signs for multiplication and division have also (to my knowledge) never been properly recognized in programming languages as a routine, variable, or anything else, unless manually coded as such by the programmer.

*(Which, assuming Slashdot ate them, are the proper symbols for 'Multiplication' and 'Division', respectively.)

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Georules (655379) | about a year ago | (#42675869)

Yeah, a lot of fail there. I have no idea what temperatures the summary is trying to express.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675883)

parenthesis around a number almost always indicate a negative number

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675957)

parenthesis around a number almost always indicate a negative number

Well that's an accurate way to convey that the number is definately maybe negative.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year ago | (#42676357)

...no, it almost never does, except in accounting.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42679265)

Exactly. In mathematics, parenthesis are for grouping, and in every day's language they are used for adding a clarification/additional detail.

The - is the correct way to express negativity, unless you are using word or wordpress, in which case it may end up getting mangled.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (2)

Georules (655379) | about a year ago | (#42676947)

parenthesis around a number almost always indicate a negative number

So from the summary:

(5.08 Kelvin)

would be negative Kelvin? OK.

Re:Fail, fail, fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42678485)

So, what does (-270.27) mean then? Or what about ((-270.27))??

uni cooling? (2, Funny)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#42675799)

wait wait wait a minute, you first its global cooling, than warming, now universal cooling? WHAT IS IT!!!?!?!?!!

/joke

Re:uni cooling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676331)

Its not that it is getting warmer on the planet, it is getting colder outside so it seems warmer.

Re:uni cooling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42677443)

wait wait wait a minute, you first its global cooling, than warming, now universal cooling? WHAT IS IT!!!?!?!?!!

It's universal climate change.

Size of Universe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675889)

Would it be possible to use the cooling rate and hubble constant to estimate the size of the universe?

Re:Size of Universe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676159)

Either one could do it, though I don't think the precision would be great. Using the Hubble constant is fairly straightforward. And you don't need to know the cooling rate as the current temperature is enough (you would have to find where on the function for temperature that the cooling rate corresponded to anyways).

Hipster cosmologists (5, Funny)

reverseengineer (580922) | about a year ago | (#42675909)

Yeah, they knew about the universe before it was cool.

Re:Hipster cosmologists (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42676099)

Yeah, they knew about the universe before it was cool.

Actually, according to the poster, it's heated up by a considerable margin. "Which is warmer than today's universe (270.27 degrees Celsius)." I'd like to buy a math transform, an inverse abs() function please?

I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (1)

angry tapir (1463043) | about a year ago | (#42675933)

should be: The team measured the temperature at -267.92 degrees Celsius (5.08 Kelvin), which is warmer than today's universe (-270.27 degrees Celsius). I suck.

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676047)

That's okay, I still love you. The platonic kind of love, not the 'I want to have your babies' kind, so don't get any funny ideas.

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676427)

You know, very few people thought you meant the "i want to have your babies" kind of love. But now that you're denying it, I don't believe you. I think you want to have angry tapir's babies. Liar.

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42679279)

The platonic kind of love, not the 'I want to have your babies' kind, so don't get any funny ideas.

I hate to break it on you, but the love you're thinking about doesn't lead to babies either in this case. Or do you really believe that there any girls here on Slashdot?

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42679909)

not the 'I want to have your babies' kind, so don't get any funny ideas.

That's a good idea, sir, kidnapping his napping kids would be a federal offense!

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676271)

Don't worry, the 'editors' suck more!

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676341)

That still doesn't explain how you arrived at -267.92 C = 5.08 Kelvin instead of 5.23 Kelvin.

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42677585)

Different AC here.

On /. I expect the readers to 'know' absolute zero, c, e^iPi, h-bar, frequency of cesium shifts, takeoff speed of an unladen african swallow, inverse femtobarns, boolean logic and hungarian notation.

In this case 0K is minus 272.15 degrees C-off by the decimal portion. Eternal september sucks. When will it finally be october??

Re:I screwed up the temperature by dropping a "-" (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#42679305)

In this case 0K is minus 272.15 degrees C-off by the decimal portion.

No, it's -273.15 C

Oh, and you can type the - sign. You know, this has been used to signify subtraction since the dawn of the computing age (... and even before). So, do you really believe that this sign was not present in the oldest character encodings such as ASCII?

Sure the universe is cool, but so are black holes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42675965)

Has anyone got a number for the amount of heat locked up in black holes?

And when a black hole forms does the temperature of the universe experience a quantum drop?

Re:Sure the universe is cool, but so are black hol (1)

rpresser (610529) | about a year ago | (#42676119)

Since the heat "locked up" in black holes hasn't disappeared from the universe, just become locked in a black hole, no, the average universe temperature doesn't drop.

Re:Sure the universe is cool, but so are black hol (2)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42676485)

In fact since due to time dilation, everything that drops into a blackhole seems to freeze at the event horizon, the energy radiating from the black hole must equal the energy that will be lost as a function of the matter that falls in.

Re:Sure the universe is cool, but so are black hol (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42677785)

If an observer dropped into a black hole their time would slow.

To an outside observer the stuff just falls in.

Re:Sure the universe is cool, but so are black hol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42679651)

you have this completely backwards.

Re:Sure the universe is cool, but so are black hol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42680123)

An observer falling into a black hole would not notice anything particularly special about crossing the event horizon and would reach the center of the black hole in a finite amount of time from their perspective. To an outside observer, it would look like it takes infinite time for the falling matter to cross the event horizon, although it will red-shift as it approaches and quickly go "out of view" as it gets red shifted way into the radio spectrum.

ho@mo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676435)

users', BAigAzz,

Climate change (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#42676471)

Damn, this climate change is really getting out of control. It's bad enough that the planet's changing, but the universe?

Boring Factual Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42676715)

A few important points which the original story mixed up.

The guys at ATNF measured the temperature of a galaxy 7.2 billion light-years away to be 5.08K is -268.07C
The local temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background is 2.72548K that is -270.42452C
(you are minus a minus -- and that does not cancel outside mathematics)

As the light takes time to reach us, measurements of something 7.2 billion light-years away is essentially 7.2 billion years ago.
This shows the change of the CMB temperature over time, from the big bang (infinite K at 13.7 billion years ago) to now.

---
Dr Richard Dodson,
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
University of Western Australia

more lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42677613)

sounds like there must have been more lasers back in the day.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/01/24/0025255/researchers-use-lasers-for-cooling

Scientist says... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42678241)

The early universe was warm, almost balmy... a popular place for ancient New Yorkers to go in the winter.

Observable Universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42679267)

complete layman here, my questions might not even make sense but I'm gonna ask anyway. Is there any chance of some of the universe energy "drop out" of our universe by going faster than light at the border of our observable universe? Maybe some of this cooling is due of actually lost energy? Could we glean some info from outside of our universe from it?

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