Questions for “Our feverish universe is getting hotter every day”

hot gas in a galaxy cluster

Hot gas in a galaxy cluster appears green in this image of the Abell 520 cluster taken by many telescopes. The cluster is about 2.4 billion light-years away. A new study shows hot gas like this has been getting hotter as the universe ages.

NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee/University of California Davis, A. Mahdavi/San Francisco State University

To accompany “Our feverish universe is getting hotter every day


Before Reading:

1.  Do you think outer space is warm or cold? Why?

2.  What does an astrophysicist do? 

3.  What is a light-year?

4.  What happened during the Big Bang?

During Reading:

1.  How hot was the universe 10 billion years ago? How hot is it now?

2.  Why is it important for astronomers to track the temperature of the universe?

3.  What is a galaxy cluster? What happens when these clusters assemble and release energy?

4.  What role does the transfer of energy play when a stovetop is on? 

5.  Why wouldn’t outer space feel hot to a person not wearing a space suit?   

6.  How long ago was the Big Bang? 

7.  Define cosmic microwave background.

After Reading:

1.  Based on this article, explain the concept of scientific modeling and how it helps researchers understand the natural world.

2.  Explain how the radiation of visible light and other forms of energy from stars and galaxies can be measured. How does studying this help astronomers develop explanations about the formation, age and composition of the universe?