Tag Archives: expanding universe

What If the Big Bang Wasn't the Beginning of the Universe?

In the beginning, there was nothing. Then bang. Our Universe emerged in an explosion of light and energy. Current theories say that it all began 13.7 billion years ago. Or did it? Let’s shed some light on this. So, how fast is the Universe expanding? Will the Universe and everything in it ever die? And why could our Universe have existed before the Big Bang? What’s a singularity?

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What If is a mini-documentary web series that takes you on an epic journey through hypothetical worlds and possibilities. Join us on an imaginary adventure through time, space and chance while we (hopefully) boil down complex subjects in a fun and entertaining way.

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What is the Great Attractor?

What is the Great Attractor?

Is there anything in the universe that’s just so eccentric, so breathtaking, and so beyond our understanding, that it gets a badass name? That’s what we’ll find out together in today’s episode! What is the Great Attractor?
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Okay, let’s do a bit of thought experiment to kick off the show.

I bet everybody here has been to the mall, right? Have you ever experienced a time when you are walking, and suddenly, you saw a bunch of people moving towards something?

Now, you don’t know what it is. You don’t know if it’s some food stall that’s really hitting the sales, or a new product being sold. You just know that it’s pulling people towards it. And to top it all off, you, with your ever curious mind, gets drawn to it as well! So, before you know it, you start walking.

It’s crazy, right? You don’t know why people are gathering, and yet you are attracted to that place where you’re absolutely clueless about what’s there to see, or even if what’s there could harm you. You just know that you’re curious and you want to find out. Something that you don’t understand is too charismatic for you to resist.

That, my dear friends, is the characteristic of our topic for today. A weird thing in space that is so bizarre, so unimaginably weird, and so difficult to grasp, that all we can do is to give it an appropriate name, The Great Attractor.

I hope we can say that The Great Attractor is a gigantic floating Harry Styles or Captain Ri from CLOY lightyears away in space from us, but that’s the problem. We don’t exactly know what it is. But we don’t actually know, so why not? It may actually be Henry Cavill in space.

Is he still popular now? I’m not keeping up with Hollywood stuff. Moving on.

Okay, here’s what we know about it so far. We don’t know what it is, but we know that it’s there. We’re sure it’s there, and we can see signs that it’s there.

It’s like having a gigantic stuffed toy in a very, very dark room. We can touch the fur, and we can feel how soft it is, maybe even smell it a bit, but that’s all the information we have. We’re not sure if it’s really a stuffed toy. It could be something else entirely.

So what are our observations leading us to think that it’s there? What are our touches to the fur and our sniffs to it?

We know that Hubble’s observations in 1929 lead us to believe that the universe is actually expanding, after he realized that a lot of galaxies are moving away from us. And not just moving away, it’s moving at an extremely fast pace faster than the speed of light.

This phenomenon is now something that we know as the Hubble flow: the movement of the galaxies due to the expansion of the universe.

To make that more visually appealing, say that you have a balloon that hasn’t been blown up yet. To add a little more playfulness, let’s say you decided to draw some random dots on it.

Now, you can measure the distance between the dots you made in the balloon, right? Okay, say at this point, you find a pump and you start blowing air into the balloon. Naturally, the balloon expands. But what else is happening here? The dots you drew earlier are now moving apart from one another. If earlier, one dot is a centimeter from another, now it’s maybe 5 centimeters.

The dot didn’t move, but it’s now farther away from the other because where it’s drawn at expanded.

The universe does this as well. It expands in a way similar to what we described in the balloon analogy. The galaxies are moving apart from one another at some velocity, so we expect them to be farther and farther from one another at a constant rate, right?

Oddly, this is not what scientists observe to be actually happening. Instead, they see a lot of galaxies seemingly gravitate towards a region in space. Even our very own Milky Way galaxy! The Great Attractor!

What scientists are sure of is that whatever it is, it’s definitely one powerful gravitational anomaly.

So how exactly did scientists arrive at this conclusion? That we are heading something so mysterious and puzzling?

Well, firstly, there’s this thing called expectation. The universe is expanding at an astoundingly fast rate of 2.2 million kilometers per hour!

So keeping this in mind, then, if we try to measure the speed at which a nearby galaxy is moving away from us, say, Andromeda, then we ought to get that speed right? Apparently not. This is one of the first odd measurements scientists found.

#InsaneCuriosity #TheGreatAttractor #HowTheUniverseWorks


What Caused The Big Bang?

What Caused The Big Bang?

The Universe began not with a whimper but with a Bang! Everything in this Universe and the Universe itself came into existence because of the commonly told Big Bang.
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It all started when in 1922, a Russian Meteorologist, Alexander Friedmann proposed that the universe might be expanding. In a very rare blunder, Albert Einstein, when came to know about this, rejected his theory and with his erroneous calculations proved him wrong. Five years earlier, Einstein had published the Static model of the universe and was very convinced that it was correct. He claimed Friedmann’s theory to be violating the conservation of energy. After eight months, however, Einstein admitted his mistake and published a retraction. The Equation of General Relativity allows for the possibility of an Expanding Universe.
Today this Big Bang theory is an accepted idea of cosmology. The Expansion of the Universe was first observed by Vesto Slipher in the Early 1920s and in 1929, Edwin Hubble who had access to some world’s largest telescopes gave the Hubble Law. According to it, every distant galaxy is moving away from each other with a velocity proportional to its distance. The farther away a galaxy is, greater is the velocity with which it moves away. Then Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson detected a background of microwave radiation known as the Cosmic Microwave Background(CMB) radiations today, coming to Earth from all the directions. It was an afterglow of the primordial, hot and dense Fireball. Today, with the data collected from the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite fits perfectly with the Big Bang and that it accounted for the light nuclear isotopes like deuterium, hydrogen, helium-3 and others. The Big Bang theory is a success but in its traditional form as it was proposed is incomplete. Though it’s called the Big Bang Theory, it does not tell us anything about the Bang! It’s the theory of what happened after the Big Bang, describing how the universe cooled and expanded, and how mater formed different Stars and Galaxies. The theory does not tell us anything about the underlying physics of this explosio*. It not even mentions what caused the Bang, what Bange*, why it Bange* and what happened before the Bang! The inflationary cosmos explains this and we will discuss the physics behind it in this video.
Could the Big Bang have been caused by the gigantic bag of TNT, or a thermonuclear explosio*? Or maybe a gigantic ball of matter collided with a gigantic ball of anti-matter. In fact, none of these events are responsible for the Big Bang and start of our Universe. The Big Bang had two very special and distinct features that differentiated it from any typical explanation.
First, On large scales Big Bang was far more homogenous than any ordinary explosio*. We must clarify you first while discussing homogeneity, that the Universe is inhomogeneous in many ways. New York differs from California and so are the Stars, galaxies and the clusters scattered through the space in a complex pattern. Cosmologically, these are all small scale. On a large scale, like if we divide the Universe into cubes of 300 million light years or more. We would find that each cube resembles the others in all its properties like mass density, light output, etc. The biggest evidence of it is the Cosmic Microwave Background(CMB)  Radiations and data from the COBE satellite. We would need a brief history about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation to explain the uniformity of our Universe. The Early Universe was boiling and dense and it would rip apart the electrons from the atoms which resulted in a plasma that filled the space. This  plasma was very opaque. So the protons making up the Cosmic Microwave Background radiations, were absorbed and re-emitted constantly. After about 300,000 years the universe cooled to form a transparent plasma of neutral atoms. Since then, the photons have travelled on a straight path and provide us an image of a universe that was 300,000 years old.
Normally such uniformity is easy to explain, because anything comes to a uniform temperature when left undisturbed for a long time. But in the Big Bang theory, the universe develops quickly, leaving no time for the universe to evolve and uniformity to be established. For the sake of discussion lets pretend that the universe contains blue creatures, each having a furnace and refrigerator and have the task to create a uniform temperature.
#InsaneCuriosity #TheBigBang