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The Early Universe

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Early Universe

Discuss the first three minutes after the Big Bang and describe processes responsible for creation of atomic matter.

At t=0 there was no space and no time.

The prevalent theory today, describing the origin of the universe and where it all began is the Big Bang theory. Scientists believe that our almost 14 billion-year-old universe could at one point fit in the palm of one’s hand. In the beginning there was nothing. No space and no time but then came light. A tiny speck of light appeared and inside this tiny fireball was space – this was beginning of time. Time could now flow, and space could expand. The notion that everything in the Universe, all the matter, all the energy and all the galaxies were once contained in a region smaller than the size of a single atom today came from American astronomer Edwin Hubble in the 1920’s. He observed that other galaxies were speeding away from ours, and the further they were, they faster they seemed to travel. The Universe was therefore expanding and the Big Bang theory was born.

Vesto Slipher first discovered the expanding universe due to the redshift of galaxies. The redshift of galaxies is an application of the Doppler effect. The spectrum of a galaxy shows spectral lines due to light absorbed by specific chemical elements in the galaxy. If the wavelength is increasing, and is shifted to the red end of the spectrum, this would imply that the galaxies are moving further apart. If the shift were towards the blue end of the spectrum, this would suggest that they are moving towards each other and hence closer to Earth. Although Slipher observed that a few galaxies did have a blueshift, the majority of galaxies displayed a redshift. Edwin Hubble was then able to use Slip...

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