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Young Universe. Distant Starlight
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?
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.
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 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
Has the speed of light changed?
- The Decay of c-decay
An analysis of the creationist claim (put forward by Barry Setterfield) that the speed of light has changed substantially in the past few millenia
- Speed of light slowing down after all? - creation.com
Creation or evolution? It makes a big difference! Over 8,500 trustworthy articles. Evidence for biblical creation.
- Has Speed Of Light Slowed Down? - CBS News
Scientists: Speed May Have Decreased Over Billions Of Years
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!
Variable speed of light
- "Light Traveled Faster in the Early Universe" -- The Varying Speed of Light Theory (Today's Most Pop
The physicist João Magueijo has proposed a heretical question: What if the speed of light—now accepted as one of the unchanging foundations of modern physics—were not constant? Magueijo, a native of Portugal, puts forth the heretical idea that in the
- John Moffat (physicist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Variable speed of light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
Scientists slow the speed of light in an experiment
- Scientists slow the speed of light - BBC News
A team of Scottish scientists make light travel slower than the speed of light by changing the shape of photons.
Variable light speed
Have you ever heard of the possibility that light speed can vary
Another hub about a young earth
- Young earth evidence. The sedimentary rocks.
Is there evidence to suggest that the earth isn't as old as we are told? Here is some of the scientific evidence that Young earth creationists turn to in presenting their case.