Timeline of cosmological theories

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For a timeline of the cosmos (or universe), see Timeline of the Big Bang.

This timeline of cosmological theories and discoveries is a chronological record of the development of humanity's understanding of the cosmos over the last two-plus millennia. Modern cosmological ideas follow the development of the scientific discipline of physical cosmology.




Since 2000

  • 2001 — The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dF) by an Australian/British team gave strong evidence that the matter density is near 25% of critical density. Together with the CMB results for a flat universe, this provides independent evidence for a cosmological constant or similar dark energy.
  • 2002 — The Cosmic Background Imager (CBI) in Chile obtained images of the cosmic microwave background radiation with the highest angular resolution of 4 arc minutes. It also obtained the anisotropy spectrum at high-resolution not covered before up to l ~ 3000. It found a slight excess in power at high-resolution (l > 2500) not yet completely explained, the so-called "CBI-excess".
  • 2003 — NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) obtained full-sky detailed pictures of the cosmic microwave background radiation. The image can be interpreted to indicate that the universe is 13.7 billion years old (within one percent error), and are very consistent with the Lambda-CDM model and the density fluctuations predicted by inflation.
  • 2003 — The Sloan Great Wall is discovered.
  • 2004 — The Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI) first obtained the E-mode polarization spectrum of the cosmic microwave background radiation.
  • 2005 — The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and 2dF redshift surveys both detected the baryon acoustic oscillation feature in the galaxy distribution, a key prediction of cold dark matter models.
  • 2006 — The long-awaited three-year WMAP results are released, confirming previous analysis, correcting several points, and including polarization data.
  • 2006-2011 — Improved measurements from WMAP, new supernova surveys ESSENCE and SNLS, and baryon acoustic oscillations from SDSS and WiggleZ, continue to be consistent with the standard Lambda-CDM model.
  • 2014 — On March 17, 2014, astrophysicists of the BICEP2 collaboration announced the detection of inflationary gravitational waves in the B-mode power spectrum, which if confirmed, would provide clear experimental evidence for the theory of inflation.[7][8][9][10][11][12] However, on June 19, 2014, lowered confidence in confirming the cosmic inflation findings was reported.[11][13][14]

See also

Physical cosmology

Belief systems



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  11. 11.0 11.1 Ade, P.A.R.; BICEP2 Collaboration (June 19, 2014). "Detection of B-Mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 112: 241101. Bibcode:2014PhRvL.112x1101A. PMID 24996078. arXiv:1403.3985Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.241101. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
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  14. Amos, Jonathan (June 19, 2014). "Cosmic inflation: Confidence lowered for Big Bang signal". BBC News. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
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