Question Sheet: A Whole Lot of Nothing


Before reading:

  1. How did the universe form?
  2. What does the universe look like?
  3. Based on the title of this article, what do you predict it will be about?

During reading:

  1. What are some clues that matter is not evenly distributed through space?
  2. What is the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation?
  3. Describe a radio telescope. What is a radio galaxy?
  4. Why did Rudnick and colleagues decide that there must be a huge empty space

    in the universe?

  5. How might Rudnick’s discovery change theories about what happened during and

    after the Big Bang?

  6. How did temperature play a part in Rudnick’s discovery?
  7. What questions remain about this large void?

After reading:

  1. Compare space exploration with the “discovery” of new lands by explorers,

    such as Christopher Columbus.

  2. Do you think scientists will ever be able to truly understand how the large void formed? Why or why not?
  3. How do scientists figure out what has happened in the universe over time,

    even though we can’t see most of what is going on with just our eyes? What types

    of tools do they use?

  4. In the term “cosmic microwave background radiation,” what does the word

    “microwave” refer to?

  5. Why would scientists use the term “smooth” to describe a phenomenon

    involving temperature?

  6. Come up with two questions that this article inspires you to wonder about.


  1. Write a letter to Larry Rudnick asking him questions about his recent


  2. How would this article be different if it had no quotes? How do quote change

    a science news article?


  1. Go outside at night when there is a full moon. Based on how big the moon

    looks, how many full moons do you think could fill the entire visible sky? How

    did you come up with your answer?

  2. The primary reflectors on the WMAP satellite are about 1.5 meters in

    diameter. Each of the VLA’s radio antennas is 25 m in diameter. How many more

    meters across is the VLA antenna than a WMAP reflector? How many of the WMAP reflectors would fit across a VLA antenna?