Viewing the Big Bang? Answers for AstroGeek Toby

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In summary, the big bang is not thought of as an explosion of matter outward from a central point in space, it's space itself that has been expanding, like a chessboard where all the squares keep getting larger all at once, while the pieces centered on each square stay the same size--if you run this backwards, the pieces get scrunched closer and closer together as the squares shrink, and in the same way the density of all the matter and energy in the universe gets higher and higher as you approach the big bang. So light from the time of the big bang would originate from all locations in space, not from a single central explosion.
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Tobasco
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I'm new here, people, so please forgive my ignorance. I don't study physics or astronomy - I'm just a closet AstroGeek if you will.

Here's my dilemma:

I'm comfortable with the idea of being able to "see" the Big Bang via telescope because the light we're seeing originated 30+ billion light years ago.

What confuses me is in order for us to see the Big Bang from where we are, we must have arrived where we are before the light could get here. So in essence we were here 30+ billion light years before the light got here.

Now if it's impossible to travel faster than the speed of light how can we possibly be looking back at the Big Bang?

If we really are looking at the Big Bang, does it appear to be moving towards us or away from us?

Since we can see the Big Bang we obviously know which direction it is coming from. If we were to travel towards the light from the Big Bang at 99% the speed of light at around 15 billion years we would presumably meet the light dead on. If we were to keep traveling in our direction allowing the light to pass us, would we no longer see anything in front of us? And what we would see when we turned around? Nothing?

- Toby
 
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The big bang is not thought of as an explosion of matter outward from a central point in space, it's space itself that has been expanding, like a chessboard where all the squares keep getting larger all at once, while the pieces centered on each square stay the same size--if you run this backwards, the pieces get scrunched closer and closer together as the squares shrink, and in the same way the density of all the matter and energy in the universe gets higher and higher as you approach the big bang. So light from the time of the big bang would originate from all locations in space, not from a single central explosion.
 
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  • #3
Hi Toby! Welcome to PF. While it is impossible for matter to travel faster than light, space itself is not forbidden to expand faster than the speed of light. Peruse through this [Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial] and see what you think:
http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmoall.htm
 

Related to Viewing the Big Bang? Answers for AstroGeek Toby

What is the Big Bang theory?

The Big Bang theory is the scientific explanation for the origin of the universe. It states that the universe began as a single point of infinite density and temperature, and has been expanding and cooling ever since.

How was the Big Bang theory developed?

The Big Bang theory was developed through a combination of observations and mathematical models. Astronomers observed that galaxies were moving away from each other, indicating that the universe was expanding. This, combined with the discovery of cosmic background radiation, provided evidence for the Big Bang theory.

What is the evidence for the Big Bang theory?

In addition to the expansion of the universe and the discovery of cosmic background radiation, other evidence for the Big Bang theory includes the abundance of light elements such as hydrogen and helium, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the redshift of distant galaxies.

Can we see the Big Bang?

No, we cannot see the Big Bang itself. The Big Bang occurred approximately 13.8 billion years ago and the light from that event has long since passed us. However, we can observe the afterglow of the Big Bang through cosmic microwave background radiation, which is the oldest light in the universe.

What is the future of the universe according to the Big Bang theory?

The Big Bang theory predicts that the universe will continue to expand and cool, eventually leading to the end of all stars and galaxies. This is known as the "heat death" of the universe. However, there are other theories that suggest the universe may experience a "big crunch" or continue to expand at an accelerated rate due to dark energy.

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