The Nonstop Expansion of Our Universe

The light illuminating from the supernova iPTF16geu has been warped and intensified by the mass of a nearing galaxy. In the article, “Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy“, The astronomers at spacedaily have concluded their observations that show this phenomenon further research that proves our universe is rapidly expanding as well as more insight into astral gravity and the distribution of dark matter. This supernova falls under the category of type la supernovae which have been used for years to measure cosmological distances, as well as our theory of the rapid expansion of the universe. The process mentioned earlier of the supernova being bent and intensified is called gravitational lensing (curving of space due to gravity). Analyzing this lensing has been very hard to perform, until recent technological advancements. Now, astronomers are able to measure the light focusing power of gravity more accurately than ever before, and probe physical scales that may have seemed out of reach until now. This new discovery gives scientists the ability to measure very accurately how much time it takes for the light from each of the multiple images of the supernova to reach us, as well as the rate of expansion of our universe known as the hubble constant. New questions have been asked about how matter clumps in the universe and challenges astronomer’s understanding of gravitational lensing at small scales.

This article fits perfectly with our 17th conceptual objective, “I can explain how astronomers know that the universe is expanding and how they determine the age of the universe.” At the start of our last class in astronomy, Prof. Morrison projected a plain white piece of paper with a cluster of black dots. He then asked for a volunteer to choose one dot out of the cluster and I, willingly volunteered and chose one. Next, he laid down multiple layers of film that projected the same dots moving further away from the one I previously pointed out. This demonstration mimicks that galaxies are moving away from each other and galaxies that are further away from the one being observed move away at an accelerated rate compared to the closer ones. We also learned in our notes that in earlier times of our universe space was tightly brought together in one region, all contained. The start of our universe was of course the big bang, which flagged the beginning of the expansion. The common misconception is the big bang was an explosion but this was proven wrong because space was concentrated at one single point, and before the universe was only made up of atoms, and those atoms did not even exist farther in the past. Unfortunately light has not reached us yet so we cannot observe this far into our universes’ past. Astronomers have been able to infer that there was a time when our universe was so dense, that light could not escape everything. When the light finally broke out, what occurred was waves passing through and the light bursting out, going in all directions. This early light has been stretched, with the wavelengths being 1000 times longer! Astronomers are able to research this early light by looking for radio waves which leaves us with background noise, but causes the problem of discovering leftover radiation from the bang. Lastly, if we point a radio telescope in any direction in space that radiation will be picked up, this is called cosmic microwave radiation (19 billion years old).

This conceptual objective by far is my favorite. I have learned a great deal of information and know the truth behind the big bang theory. Many thoughts I used to have about our universe have been challenged, and I feel more knowledgeable about our own space. Without a doubt, our universe is picking up speed with the expansion, and everything in it is being formed and stretched out. New discoveries like the one found in the article I have chosen is getting us one step closer to understanding how our universe works.


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