There are two aspects of cosmology today that make it more alluring than ever. First, there is an enormous amount of data. To give just one example of how rapidly our knowledge of the structure of the universe is advancing, consider galaxy surveys which map the sky. In 1985, the state-of-the-art survey was the one carried out by the Center for Astrophysics; it consisted of the positions of 1100 galaxies. Today, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Two Degree Field between them have recorded the 3D positions of half a million galaxies.
The other aspect of modern cosmology which distinguishes it from previous efforts to understand the universe is that we have developed a consistent theoretical framework which agrees quantitatively with the data. These two features are the secret of the excitement in modern cosmology: we have a theory which makes predictions, and these predictions can be tested by observations.
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