THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE

the-big-bang-universe-cosmos

In 1929, in the California Mount Wilson observatory, an American astronomer by the name of Edwin Hubble made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of astronomy. While he observed the stars with a giant telescope, he found out that the light from them was shifted to the red end of the spectrum and that this shift was more pronounced the further a star was from the earth. This discovery had an electrifying effect in the world of science, because according to the recognised rules of physics, the spectra of light beams travelling towards the point of observation tend towards violet while the spectra of the light beams moving away from the point of observation tend towards red. During Hubbles observations, the light from stars was discovered to tend towards red. This meant that they were constantly moving away from us.

Before long, Hubble made another very important discovery: Stars and galaxies moved away not only from us, but also from one another. The only conclusion that could be derived from a universe where everything moves away from everything else is that the universe constantly expands.

To better understand, the universe can be thought of as the surface of a balloon being blown up. Just as the points on the surface of a balloon move apart from each other as the balloon is inflated, so do the objects in space move apart from each other as the universe keeps expanding.

In fact, this had been theoretically discovered even earlier. Albert Einstein, who is considered the greatest scientist of the century, had concluded after the calculations he made in theoretical physics that the universe could not be static. However, he had laid his discovery to rest simply not to conflict with the widely recognised static universe model of his time. Later on, Einstein was to identify his act as the greatest mistake of his career. Subsequently, it became definite by Hubbles observations that the universe expands.

What importance, then, did the fact that the universe expands have on the existence of the universe?

Here, the difference in the remoteness of various galaxies and the extent to which they tend towards red are shown. The vertical line at the top indicates a certain point on the spectrum. In other spectra, this point tends towards the right as far as the horizontal arrows go. The tendency towards red, which is an indication of remoteness, increases as a galaxy moves farther away from the earth.

The expansion of the universe implied that if it could travel backwards in time, the universe would prove to have originated from a single point. The calculations showed that this single point that harboured all the matter of the universe should have zero volume and infinite density. The universe had come about by the explosion of this single point with zero volume. This great explosion that marked the beginning of the universe was named the Big Bang and the theory started to be so called.

It has to be stated that zero volume is a theoretical expression used for descriptive purposes. Science can define the concept of nothingness, which is beyond the limits of human comprehension, only by expressing it as a point with zero volume. In truth, a point with no volume means nothingness. The universe has come into being from nothingness. In other words, it was created.

The Big Bang theory showed that in the beginning all the objects in the universe were of one piece and then were parted.

Everything, even the heavens and the earth that were not yet created, were created with a Big Bang out of a single point, and shaped the present universe by being parted from each other.

The expansion of the universe is one of the most important pieces of evidence that the universe was created out of nothing. Although this fact was not discovered by science until the 20th century.

THE SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVES TO THE BIG BANG THEORY

As clearly seen, the Big Bang theory proved that the universe was created from nothing, in other words, that it was created by God. For this reason, astronomers committed to the materialist philosophy continued to resist the Big Bang and uphold the steady-state theory. The reason for this effort was revealed in the following words of A. S. Eddington, one of the foremost materialist physicists: Philosophically, the notion of an abrupt beginning to the present order of Nature is repugnant to me.

Sir Fred Hoyle was one of those who were disturbed by the Big Bang theory. In the middle of the century, Hoyle championed a theory called the steady-state which was similar to the constant universe approach of the 19th century. The steady-state theory argued that the universe was both infinite in size and eternal in duration. With the sole visible aim of supporting the materialist philosophy, this theory was totally at variance with the Big Bang theory, which held that the universe had a beginning.

Those who defended the steady-state theory opposed the Big Bang for a long time. Science, however, was working against them.

Some scientists, on the other hand, looked for ways to develop alternatives.

In 1948, George Gamov came up with another idea concerning the Big Bang. He stated that after the formation of the universe by a big explosion, a radiation surplus should have existed in the universe left over from this explosion. Moreover, this radiation ought to be uniformly diffused across the universe.

This evidence which ought to have existed was soon to be found.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: