Take Home Essay
February 16, 2014
Our Universe was created billions of years ago. We have no way of knowing exactly how this happened, nor how or if it will end. The creation of the universe is greatly debated religiously and scientifically. The future of our universe is a popular topic, but still remains a mystery. There are many theories as to what will happen to the universe and factors to be accounted for. The fact that we do not have the ability to travel into the unknowns of the universe makes it extremely difficult to study it. If we knew how the universe was created so many unanswered mysteries would be solved. The area around the earth, the observational universe, is really the only part of the universe we have knowledge of. Subsequently, observations and conclusions have to be made from what we can see and already know. The most well-known and believed theory of the creation of the universe is The Big Bang Theory. The Big Bang Theory suggests that the universe originated about 10 to 20 billion years ago from a huge explosion of a small volume of matter at an extremely high density and temperature. Basically, the universe began at a certain time in the past and has been expanding ever since. Evidence for The Big Bang begins with Edwin Hubble’s observation of universal expansion. The galaxies outside of the Milky Way galaxy are moving away from us, and consequently the ones farthest away are moving the fastest. “However, the galaxies are not moving through space, they are moving in space, because space is also moving. In other words, the universe has no center; everything is moving away from everything else” (The Library Of Congress, 2010). The Doppler effect is evidence that the universe is expanding. “In 1912, Slipher found that the light from all galaxies are moving away from Earth, and the amount of red shifting revealed their speeds” (Merali, 2013). Before 1998, everyone thought that the universe was slowing because of gravity, but with observations of a distant supernova from the Hubble Space Telescope it became evident that the universe was actually accelerating. Now they knew that something was causing this acceleration, but they did not know what it was. “Theorists still don't know what the correct explanation is, but they have given the solution a name. It is called dark energy” (Netting, 2013). Roughly 70 percent of the universe is made up of dark energy. There are a few explanations for dark energy. One explanation is that dark energy is a property of space. Another explanation is that “dark energy emerges from the fuzzy laws of quantum physics, which govern the subatomic realm” (Merali, 2013). Scientists noticed that the outer portions of the galaxies were moving extremely fast. The outer stars seemed to be pulled by something more than just gravity. The best answer that they were able to come up with was that the galaxies contain clouds of dark matter that are unseen and exert a gravitational force. “This material does not interact with electromagnetic radiation, but would make its presence known only because it exerts a gravitational force” (Trefil, 2013). About 90 percent of the mass of galaxies like ours is made up of dark matter, which makes up about a quarter of the mass of the universe. The best explanation for dark matter is that it is made up of weakly interacting massive particles aka W.I.M.P’s. Their interaction with matter is very weak, making detecting dark matter extremely difficult.
Astronomers have come up with a couple different scenarios for what they think will be the future of the universe. The first scenario is the open universe. In this case, the mass of the universe isn’t large enough to stop the expansion. There will be eternal expansion, which will eventually slow down with time. Eventually all the matter will be used up and will cease to exist. The next scenario is the closed universe. In this case, the expansion will eventually slow down and...
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