Sorry if this seems totally sketch (of course, if you think about it, talking to people over the internet is already a bit sketch), but I saw on the hit or miss game that you like Community and it's my favorite show so I thought I'd say hi! So, hi! :D
"Describe evidence used to support estimates of time in the universe."
Again a strange question. Measuring ages in the universe is somewhat difficult. Most of the time you simply measure the stars in the object (e.g. galaxy) and see how old they are. You can measure a stars age by seeing how evolved it is and by analyzing what type of star it is. However when looking in space you always look back in time as the speed of light is definite (not infinite), so when you look back cosmologically, you also see different times of the universe.
"Relate some major features of the universe to theories about the formation of the universe."
Well there are two major features that tells us something about the formation of the universe: The distribution of galaxies in clusters, and superclusters with small filaments in between, (and the continous motion apart from each other due to the universe expanding) and the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) which is a microwave background that is almost uniform in the entire universe and comes from a time when the universe was a hot bubble of material. It's the last scattering of this hot bubble, that due to time has redshifted to microwave-radiation. And that is the clearest "proof" of the big bang model
I don't know how much this helped, but if something is not clear, feel free to contact me again!
Hello. You are always more then welcome. Sorry for the late answer, for some weird reason the ning won't work on my ubuntu laptop.
Again a bunch of cosmology:
"Consider interactions between various features of the universe and hypotheses on past and future developments in the universe."
I'm not sure I get this "question" right. The universe is composed of basically everything, so "the elements" are quite a lot. However if the question is strictly cosmological, the elements can be grouped into some major categories: Baryonic matter (what humans, planets, stars and all we can see is made of), Radiation (Light), Dark Matter (Something with mass, but we don't know what it is) and Dark Energy (Opposite Gravity). In some cases you would take out Neutrinos (small particles that can pass through the earh without thinking about it) as a substance. Now, the energy in radiation and neutrinos is so small that we can omit them. What we have left is baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy. These three quantities can be measured, and now it seems that the universe is composed by 4% baryonic matter, 23% Dark Matter and 73% Dark Energy. When these quantities are used in the Fiedmann equation, we get out a model of the universe's developent. According to these numbers the universe is a "Big Chill" where it will expand continuosly. If you change the parameters however you can make all kind of strange universes. If the masses are for example huge, the universe would be a "Big Crunch" model where the universe would collapse on itself after reaching maximum size. If Dark Energy is hugely dominant you would have a "Big Rip" a universe expanding at an accelerating rate, where the scale factor (the distance between objects compared to today) reaches infinity at a given time..... And so on...
Sure I can help. The two questions are actually related.
Red shift is a measure of the speed an object is moving away from you. This comes from the doppler-effect. The doppler-effect is mostly observed in connection with soundwaves. It's the phenomenon you hear when an ambulance passes past you. When it comes towards you you hear the high notes (low wavelength, as the sound waves get "sqished closer") and when it moves away from you you hear a lower sound (longer wavelength, as the sound waves gets "streched") As light can be described as a wave, the same things happens for that, so when something moves towards you, an object gets more blue (smaller wavelength) and when it moves away from you it gets more red (longer wavelength) hence blue-shift and red-shift. By measuring exactly how much more red or blue the light has become (using the spectrum) you can find out how fast the object is moving.
If you analyze all galaxies using this, you see that most galaxies moves away from us (so a red-shift) and the farther away they are, the quicker they move away, as it's not the galaxy moving but the universe between them expanding. In this way the red shift can be translated to a distance, and therefore a timescale, so that redshift 0 is today and higher and higher redshifts equals more and more ancient periods.
One of the good objects to observe are quasars, as they are some of the most energetic objects in the universe. They are basically nuclei of active galaxies, creating enormous jets of energy in small angles. They make very good sources for observing the redshift of the galaxy, and the show us that there are active regions in the universe, more exotic that they thought in the dark ages, where the notion of the "unchanging universe" was popular
I hope it helps, and you are of course welcome to contact me again!