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Cosmology is the study of the origins,
creation, and changes of the planets,
Sun, and Universe, based on its present
physical and chemical properties.

How Astronomers studied the universe:

Cosmological models
Mathematical descriptions
Two basic types of Models

• Evolutionary – favored by tests

• Steady state – epic fail

• Cosmological models differ

from religious explanations of
the universe in a fundamental
way. Can you state the

• Cosmological models do not

give a supernatural cause or
meaning to physical events
but try to explain these events
using only the laws of nature
and mathematics.
Arose from Einstein’s General Theory of
Relativity (a theory of gravity).
Cosmological constant () – a form of
antigravity that its effects become
greater with distance
states that the physical laws that apply
to one part of the universe apply
Structure, Composition, and Age
The universe as we currently know it
comprises all space and time, and all
matter & energy in it.
It is made of 4.6% baryonic matter
(“ordinary” matter consisting of
protons, electrons, and neutrons:
atoms, planets, stars, galaxies,
nebulae, and other bodies)
• 24% cold dark matter (matter
that has gravity but does not emit
• 71.4% dark energy (a source of

Baryonic matter - "ordinary"
matter consisting of protons,
electrons, and neutrons that
comprises atoms, planets,
stars, galaxies, and other

Dark matter - matter that has gravity but
does not emit light.
Dark Energy - a source of anti-gravity; a
force that counteracts gravity and causes
the universe to expand.
Protostar- an early stage in the formation
of a star resulting from the gravitational
collapse of gases.

Thermonuclear reaction - a nuclear fusion
reaction responsible for the energy produced
by stars.
Main Sequence Stars - stars that fuse
hydrogen atoms to form helium atoms in
their cores; outward pressure resulting from
nuclear fusion is balanced by gravitational

light years - the distance
light can travel in a year;
a unit of length used to
measure astronomical
Hydrogen, helium,
and lithium are the
three most abundant

The life Cycle of a Star
• Most stars such as the Sun belong to the
so-called “main sequence stars.”
• In the cores of such stars, hydrogen
atoms are fused through thermonuclear
reactions to make helium atoms
• Massive main sequence stars burn up
their hydrogen faster than smaller stars.
Stars like our Sun burn up hydrogen in
about 10 billion years.
• The remaining dust and gas
may end up as they are or
as planets, asteroids, or
other bodies in the
accompanying planetary
GALAXY - is a cluster of billions of stars
and clusters of galaxies form super
clusters. In between the clusters is
practically an empty space. This
organization of matter in the universe
suggests that it is indeed clumpy at a
certain scale. But at a large scale, it
appears homogeneous and isotropic

• the universe is 13.8 billion years
old. The diameter of the universe
is possibly infinite but should be
at least 91 billion light-years (1
light-year = 9.4607 × 10 km). Its
density is 4.5 x 10-31 g/cm3.

• Steady
• Cosmic
• Red Shift/
Big Bang
• Oscillation
Steady State Theory
• First proposed by Sir James Jeans,
• Revised by Herman Bondi, Thomas
Gold, and Fred Hoyle, 1948.
• Perfect Cosmological Principle – “at any
given time” replaced by “for all time”.
• Universe was unchanging
• The universe had no beginning and will
have no end
• New matter is continuously created –
continuous creation

Steady State Disproved
• the universe is always
• when galactic bodies such as
quasars and radio galaxies
• new matter is constantly were found a long way from
formed as the universe the sun at far distances in
continues to expand
space (and found none
• the older bodies eventually nearby); it disproved the idea
became out of sight as a that similar bodies are
consequence of their created and found
increasing distance and
rate of recession
• hence, distant objects in
• the universe had no
space are considered ancient
beginning or end in time
and the younger universes
• even though it is are found nearer, this implies
expanding, its appearance
that the universe is dynamic
remains the same over
The steady state theory asserts that although the
universe is expanding, it nevertheless does not
change its look over time. For this to work, new
matter must be formed to keep the density equal
over time.
This explanation has been unconvincing to most
cosmologists as the cosmic microwave background
is very smooth, making it difficult to explain how
it arose from point sources, and the microwave
background shows no evidence of features such as
polarization which are normally associated with
• proposed by physicist Alan Guth (1947 - ) and
Andrei Linde (1948 - ), 1980’s

• the early universe went under rapid
expansion in space – time

• The theory states that the early universe was
a rapidly expanding bubble of pure vacuum
energy. It did not have any matter or radiation.
After the expansion and cooling due to the
inflation, the potential energy was converted
into kinetic energy of matter and radiation.
Then a big bang occurred because of the
extremely hot dense condition of the matter.
Seconds after the explosion, matter began to
clump together. Eventually, stars were
formed, and then the galaxies. The universe
continued to expand up to the present time.27
The Big Bang Theory
• the dominant scientific theory/cosmological model about
the origin of the universe
• provides the best explanation and is implicitly accepted
• continues to improve and develop with the
advancements in space instruments
• based their new findings through cosmic microwave
background (CMB) – is a thermal radiation used in
observational cosmology because it is considered the
oldest light in the universe; first evidence of gravitational
waves (Harvard-Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics,
2014), “SMOKING GUN”

Although the Big Bang

Theory is widely accepted,
it probably will never be
proved; consequentially,
leaving a number of tough,
unanswered questions.
Stages in a Big Bang
1. unimaginably hot, dense point
2. 10-34 of a second or so old (a hundredth of a
billionth of a trillionth of a second) – it
experienced an incredible burst of expansion
(inflation), in which space itself expanded faster
than the speed of light; during this period, the
universe doubled in size at least 90X, going from
sub-atomic sized to a golf-ball-sized almost
3. (NASA) after inflation, the growth of the universe
continued, but at a slower rate (as space
expanded, the universe cooled and matter
4. after 1 sec – the universe was filled with
neutrons, protons, electrons, anti – electrons,
photons and neutrinos

5. after 3 min – light elements were born during

a process known as Big Bang nucleosynthesis;
temperatures cooled from 100 nonillion (1032) K
to 1 billion (109) K and protons and neutrons
collided to make deuterium (2H1) (most of the
deuterium combined to make He and trace
amounts of Li)
6. for the first 380,000 years or so – universe
was too hot for light to shine (France’s National
Center of Space Research or Centre National
d’Etudes Spatiales,CNES);
the heat of creation smashed atoms together
with enough force to break them up into a
dense plasma (an opaque soup p+, n0, e- that
scattered light like a fog);

7. (NASA) roughly 380,000 years after – matter
cooled enough for atoms to form during the era
of recombination, resulting in a transparent,
electrically neutral gas;
this set loose the initial flash of light created
during the Big Bang, which is detectable today
as cosmic microwave background radiation;
however, after this point, the universe was
plunge into darkness, since no stars or any
other bright objects had formed yet
8. 400 M years after the Big bang – the
universe began to emerge from the cosmic
dark ages during the epoch of reionization;
during this time, which lasted more than a
half-billion years, clumps of gas collapsed
enough to form the first stars and galaxies,
whose energetic UV light ionized and destroyed
most of the neutral H

9. (NASA) 5 or 6 B years after the Big Bang –
the expansion of the universe gradually slowed
down as the matter in the universe pulled on
itself via gravity;
a mysterious force now called dark energy
began speeding up the expansion of the
universe again that still continues today

10. 9 B years after the Big Bang – our solar

system was born
Misconceptions about the Big Bang
• there was no explosion; there was (and
continues to be) an expansion
– Rather than imagining a balloon popping and
releasing its contents, imagine a balloon
expanding: an infinitesimally small balloon
expanding to the size of our current universe
• we tend to image the singularity as a little
fireball appearing somewhere in space
– space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the
singularity, nothing existed, not space, time,
matter, or energy - nothing.
The universe did not expand into space, as
space did not exist before the universe (NASA),
instead, it is better to think of the Big Bang as
the simultaneous appearance of space
everywhere in the universe. The universe has
not expanded from any one spot since the Big
Bang – rather, space itself has been stretching,
and carrying matter with it.

Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
1. Hubble’s Law: the speed of the galaxies
moving away from each other causes a
change in the light spectrum, ‘red shift’.
2. Background radiation: We can still detect
radiation from an explosion of this size – the
radiation is the same everywhere on earth (TV
static, etc).
3. Composition of Older Galaxies: Analysis of
light from galaxies towards the ‘outside’ of the
universe confirm theories about the early
universe. They are made up of approx 93% H,
7% He, and trace Li
Big Bang evidence
1) Universal expansion and Hubble’s Law
2) 3 degree background radiation
3) Quasars
4) Radioactive decay
5) Stellar formation and evolution
6) Speed of light and stellar distances
1. Universal expansion and Hubble’s
a) Hubble observed the majority of galaxies are
moving away from us and each other
b) The farther, the faster they move
c) Red Shift
2. Back ground radiation
a) Noise radiation (static) is
evenly spread across space
b) The amount of radiation
matched predictions
c) C.O.B.E satellite confirmed
for the entire universe that
noise radiation (static) is
evenly spread
d) Law of conservation of
energy (energy can neither
be created or destroyed) –
energy remains constant
over time
3. Quasars - super large (solar system size)
galactic cores that put out more light than whole galaxies

• Only found 10-15

billion light years
• Found nowhere
• Nothing exists
past them
4. Radioactive
• Radiometric dating –
gives us the age of
items from the decay of
radioactive materials
found within the object
• Moon rocks have been
dated and found to be
older than Earth
– Gives us an estimated
time that Earth and the
Moon formed
5. Stellar formation and evolution

• We observe the
life cycles of stars
across the
universe using
tools such as
satellites and
• we view stars
form, burn and
6. Speed of light and stellar distances
• The speed of light is a universal
constant of 300,000 km/s2
• We observe stars
millions/billions of light-years
• A light-year is the distance that
light travels in 1 year – the light
we see today from a star 500
light years away is 500 years old
• The furthest stars away are 10-
15 billion light years away
• We have telescopes that can
see further, but there isn’t
anything viewable
1. What force is responsible for
bringing together the particles found in
2. Which of the planets in the solar
system are thought to have formed like
the Sun?
3. The minor bodies in the Solar System
are asteroids, meteors, and comets.
4. What does “red shift” mean?
5. How does the Big Bang theory explain 47
How Old is the Universe?
• 1644: Dr. John Lightfoot, Vice Chancellor
of Cambridge University, uses biblical
genealogies to place the date of creation
at September 21, 3298 BC at 9 AM
• 1650: James Ussher, Archbishop of
Armagh and Primate of All Ireland,
correlates Holy Writ and Middle Eastern
histories to “correct” the date to October
23, 4004 BC
• Current Jewish calendar would “suggest”
a date of creation about Sep/Oct 3760
How Old is the Universe?
• 1760: Buffon uses cooling of Earth from
its molten state to estimate age as
7.5x104 years
• 1831: Charles Lyell uses fossils of
marine mollusks to estimate age as
2.4x108 years
• 1905: Lord Rutherford uses radioactive
decay of rocks to estimate age as > 109
years (later refined to 4.3x109 years)
Big Bang Theory
• Scientists now believe that the universe had a definite
beginning, and it will have an end.
• The ‘best’ explanation for the existence of the universe is
currently the Big Bang Theory.
• The Big Bang is thought to be an explosion from a
SINGULARITY (a single point of density – where all
known space was compressed into an infinitely small
• This happened 12-15bn years ago (12,000,000,000-
15,000,000,000 years)
• They don’t really know what the singularity was or ‘how
long’ it had been there.
• Unlike Steady State Theory, the universe is not
‘filling up’ as it expands – the galaxies are
moving further away from each other, with more
space in-between.
• In the first second after the expansion, gravity
and electro-magnetism were ‘created’.
• In the first minute the universe had grown to
1million billion miles (1,000,000,000,000) across
• In the first 3 minutes, the heat (10 billion degrees
celsius) causes nuclear reaction with lightest
particles to make 98% of all matter in the
• The Big bang was thought to produce 2 main
types of particle: matter and anti-matter.
• Matter and anti-matter in equal quantities cancel
each other out. The surplus is what the universe
is made of.
• After 500,000 years, particles from atoms
• 500,000 years after that, atoms and molecules
start to gather together and form galaxies and
• Out of the first stars came H, He, C, O
• Our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old.