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Young Universe. Distant Starlight

Updated on February 20, 2016

Twinkle twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high.

Like a Diamond in the sky.


So the poem goes. But how far away are those stars really?

Distant galaxies

This Galaxy is two billion light years from earth.
This Galaxy is two billion light years from earth.

The sky at night

I love to stand out at night and just look at the sky. Usually as I'm going to work in the mornings when it's still dark I'll just stop for a few seconds and take that time to drink in the beauty around.

Even when there are clouds in the sky, sometimes the view is amazing, but on a clear morning it's breathtaking. Did you know that over five thousand stars can be seen with just the Mark one human eyeball?

Straight overhead there seems to be a whole band of stars that go right over the sky, the Milky way is right overhead with over a hundred million stars calling it home. Most of these stars the light has taken hundreds of years for it to reach us.

Just how big is the universe? Well the part that we've measured is a hundred and thirty five billion light years! This poses a major problem for both Big Bang theorists and Creationists as the whole thing is too big for either the Big Bang or 'Inflation' theory and the creation story, or is it?

What we are going to be dealing with in this hub is actually work being done to find explanations for this that both evolutionary and creationist astronomers agree on and even a theory that both agree with but naturally one wants to take the theory further than the other.

Our neighborhood

Does your sky look like this
Does your sky look like this

The issue

The Big bang theory says that the universe is 14 billion years old. That means that if it was started then and has been expanding at the speed of light then today it should be 28 billion light years across, but it isn't. What we have measured so far is that it's actually at least a hundred and forty billion light years across with no end to it in sight!

The Big bang theory states that as the parts of the universe are seen to be still moving away from each other at an accelerated rate then the universe must still be expanding. The problem is that some of it is so far away that it either had to be created before the universe began or the universe is older than it seems! why? because the universe is ten times bigger than the Big bang says it can be with the present model!

Not only that, but the stars we see are third and fourth generation stars (it takes two or three cycles of a star's life to form elements like Carbon, Iron and Uranium and the like) but our own star the sun is ten billion years old (it formed early in the life of the universe) yet Earth has a core of molten iron! so our sun can not have been created in a big bang like event!

The Horizon problem

This is a major headache for the Big bang. It basically shows that if the universe is bigger than light allows for it to be then when the universe was formed parts of it could not exchange information with each other.

Let's say that at the start the universe was a hundred billion light years across and has been expanding at the speed of light since it's first moments. that means that fourteen billion years later it would be a hundred and twenty eight billion light years across, but the light from one edge will only have traveled fourteen billion light years and would need another hundred and fourteen billion years to reach the other side. Someone in the middle wouldn't be able to see the edges as the light from there wouldn't have reached it yet!

Parts of the universe would be hotter and colder than other parts etc. Yet since the 1960's and the discovery of microwave radiation we've been discovering that the universe is the same temperature all the way through, not only that but we can see ten times further into it than we should be able to! How is that?

Here's what we use to look

The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.the world's largest radio telescope
The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.the world's largest radio telescope

The first solution

The first solution that they came up with was the idea that at the beginning the universe expanded at a much greater rate and actually broke the barrier of light-speed by many factors thus achieving it's size. The only problem with that is it just about threw out Einstein's theory of relativity which says that the speed of light cannot be broken.

The reason you can't go faster than light is because if you do you'll be going backwards in time! Hence the 'inflation' explanation can't work

Creationists pointed this out from the start, but or want of another explanation the Big bang theorists hung on to this idea and only recently

How Relativity works on Light

That is the problem

The Big bang says that the universe fourteen billion years old, but Einstein says it can't be! We must be missing something. The Horizon problem tells us there's a problem as a galaxy can't be older than the universe (yet some would be if we took the big bang theory to be correct!)

Not only that but the theory also says that those galaxies out there so far away shouldn't be as fully formed as the one we inhabit, but everywhere we look we see fully formed and functional galaxies. Spirals (like our own) elliptical and many other forms

Meet an elliptical galaxy and a spiral hanging out together

Maffei 1 The closest giant elliptical galaxy to us. Maffei 1 is the small blue dot in the bottom right
Maffei 1 The closest giant elliptical galaxy to us. Maffei 1 is the small blue dot in the bottom right | Source

New Kid on the block

Since the 1980's there's been some work done in one area that has shed some light on the problem and surprisingly it's an area that both sets of Astronomers agree on.

Einstein was actually the first to work out that the speed of light might actually vary! He said that light could be affected by gravity. He worked on the idea that the frequency of light may be affected by gravity. Following Einstein's model the universe may actually be a cylinder or sphere in shape and we are seeing distant galaxies many times without realizing!

Robert Dicke in 1957 also developed on the idea. He explained that not only the frequency of light but also the wavelength of light can also vary

But there was no alternative until Barry Setterfield in the early 1980's put forward his hypothesis but because he was a creationist it wasn't taken up until 1992 when John Moffatt published his hypothesis on the Variable Speed of Light (VSL) in 1992 and later Andreas Albrecht and Joao Majueijo (1998) put forward their theories of the possibility that light has actually varied and in the early universe it may have been as much as sixty times faster than it is now!!!

Here is where the creationist and the non creationist differ. The folks who accept that age of the universe to be fourteen billion years old want to stop at light being ten times (or maybe a little faster) in the distant past, but the evidence points to it being much faster than that and possibly up to sixty times faster than it is now!

A work in progress

This hub is part of an answer that was asked "are there any dating methods that reveal a young earth?" and the truth is I think the stuff talked about here go much further than that. There is no definitive proof either way and I'm not trying to prove anything either way. I know my own personal convictions come out at times but they are my personal ones and what I would ask is to look at the evidence.

By the way, you've possibly got all the way through this hub and are thinking "What about Einstein's theory of relativity?" Well some think this theory will derail the theory but most accept that it doesn't affect the theory as you still can't exceed light speed, but the speed of light itself can vary!

I've sought to put some links in for people to go to and check out what's being talked about (and if I got it right)

Hope you enjoy the hub. Don't forget to leave a comment.

Variable light speed

Have you ever heard of the possibility that light speed can vary

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    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I enjoyed researching this

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Interesting. Thank you.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      Apparently this theory is accepted by both Creationists and proponents of the Big bang theory!

      Barry Setterfield is a creationist and thats why at first it wasn't regarded as scientific when he suggested it but Moffat and the others aren't! The main discussion now is how far to take the theory with Big bang proponents saying that in the distant past light may have been four or five times faster but Moffatt says it was upto six hundred times faster! Creationists want to take Moffatt's proposal and say five to six hundred times faster (giving an age for the universe at around six thousand years!)

      There's still a huge amount of work tobe done in this area but in 2012 scientists in Edinborough slowed light down in an experiment to a mere 17 meters per second!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Do the Big Bang proponents acknowledge this? Do they have an explanation for this?

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Nell.

      I think the next few years might give us some answers but probably we'll end up with more questions. What I find good about this theory is both evolutionists (big bang theorists) and creationists agree on the theory! They both agree that light traveled much faster in the distant past.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hiya, until we know what dark matter is I think we are stumbling around in the proverbial dark! lol! evidently its 98 percent of the universe we know nothing about, so I am sticking to my idea, we didn't have a big bang, we had a black hole from multiple universes, there, I said it...! watch this space, or should I say Space! great hub as always, nell

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Avionnovice

      Einstein's theory is fundamental to all known laws of physics. From it people assumed that the speed of light was constant but this new theory demonstrates that the constant is that the speed of light can't be exceededbut has chamged over time.

      As for when it will end, well that's where the third law of thermodynamics comes into play.

      What's notable about this theory is that it is accepted by both evolutionists and creationists! The only point of difference is how far each wants to take the theory.

      Thank you for the visit.

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The theory of relativity is just that: relative. I have felt that the speed of light is variable, and it will be faster from the start than at the end. However, can the end be properly defined? I don't think so. Since the universe is continually expanding, and has been, since the dawn of time, it is only natural that these speeds will change and slow as the continuum goes on.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Ron

      It's probably the first time about 99% of have heard of it! I'd come across it in passing before but thought it was just some strange idea dreamed up that had no proof, that is until I started researching for another hub (creation myths)

      You're right about the implications but all the physicists agree that the constant is nothing can exceed the speed of light (that still applies) but the speed of light itself can vary.

      There were experiments done in Scotland in 2012 where they slowed light speed down dramatically in a controlled environment but I didn't find much detail on it so didn't put it in the hub.

      Glad you enjoyed it

      Lawrence

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      This is the first I've heard of the possibility of the speed of light not being a constant. But apparently there's nothing in physics that forbids it, except the assumption that such "constants" have always had the same value they have now. If that should turn out to not be true, physics would indeed be turned on its head!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I know what you mean. I've been trying to understand this for thirty years and still not sure I understand it all!

      Glad you found the hub fascinating though.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Faith

      Thank you. It would be great to get feedback from your brother on this. As I said I'm not trying to prove anything but trying to see what the evidence really says about the age of things.

      One thing thay all parties agree on is that if the theory is right (some experiments have been done that indicate it might be) then a lot of the underlying assumptions in radiometric dating could be flawed and will need to be revisited as the ages will be much younger.

      Hope he enjoys the hub

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Cam

      I agree what you say. Its true that the two groups won't take what the other says because of what you say.

      The strange thing with V.S.L is the four people who came up with the theory did so independent of each other. They are from both groups as well as one who doesn't accept either but now both groups use the same theory. Creationists just take it further.

      Incidentally the sixty times present speed is what John Moffatt says and he doesn't really accept either.

      The idea of the hub is to try to let the science speak for itself.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My friend, this is so far over my head....pun intended :) Seriously, I can't grasp it all, but your article is fascinating nonetheless.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      I will share your hubs with my brother, an astronomer/planetary geologist. He understands all the science. Oh, as far as the Big Bang Theory ...from what I understand for everything to be just as it is in harmony so to speak ...there is a long fraction that if all of this were just off just that fraction we would not be ...the oxygen and everything. So, to me it points to a Creator. Hard for me to express that one but hope you get what I am trying to say. God bless you

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Lawrence, great information. Keep up the good work. I have two observations and neither is about the speed of light. :) I am at the mercy of others on that point as I don't have the background to make judgments.

      Young Earth folks and Big Bang people are having knee jerk reactions to each other. Young Earthers react to anything that smacks of really old because it opens the door to evolution which required long periods of time. Young earth people just won't believe in an old universe because of that. All the evidence in the world won't convince them because they are fighting against the evolution theory.

      On the other hand, Big Bangers won't accept a young earth viewpoint. That is because over the years many have and still attempt to date the earth by means of the biblical genealogies. Ken Ham does this and that is how he comes up with a 6k year old earth. Big Bang people won't accept this.

      Because of these two problems, it will always be difficult to bring the two groups together. I'm working on a hub to debunk the dating of the earth by the genealogies.

      I don't care when the universe or earth were created. I just would like it to be based on science, not a knee jerk reaction to the other side.

      Good work here Lawrence.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Jodah

      Thank you for the visit. I really enjoyed writing the hub. The amazing thing I found is that both evolutionary and creationist astronomers agree on the new theory

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Thanks for the vote up

      Lawrence

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for sharing this hub Lawrence and presenting the information and links so that people can check the the findings and theories out for themselves. All I'll say is that I have never believed in the 'big bamg theory'..too many holes(and not black ones), The same with carbon dating..the method of testing it has changed so many times because it doesn't always stack up. A great read, voted up.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Caleb

      I'm trying to show folks that there are viable alternatives found by scientists that do 'stack up' and need to be considered. Much of the science I've talked about in the two "young earth" hubs are accepted as good science that show the evidence of a much younger creation.

      Thank you for your comment and input

    • Caleb DRC profile image

      Caleb DRC 2 years ago

      Very interesting, Lawrence.

      I agree with your comment above concerning Evolutionary Conjecture( some say "theory"). Darwinian Evolution is a mathematical impossibility and has been vomited upon easily duped societies for far too long.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Thanks Lawrence. Seek and you shall find!

      LOL, about being stubborn ...stubborn is good at times.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Faith

      I'm just a bus driver! Thank you for the comment but the truth is I got so much flack for not accepting evolution that I started searching out some of the actual science.

      My wife will tell you the only gift I really have is in how to be stubborn! So I went looking for answers (and was prepared to change if I was wrong!)

      The hubs are more about evidence and not trying to argue proof but let the evidence speak for itself.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Dearest Lawrence, this is all fascinating here. Thank you for sharing your wonderful brain here. I have never bought into the Big Bang Theory, as it is just that, a theory. You have given us much food for thought here. Thank you for sharing your brilliant mind with us all.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, g+ and sharing

      God bless you