Why was the big bang not an explosion?

  • Thread starter astroscott
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  • #26
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Are we living in Q time or t time? If first is true than you need +inf time interval, just to get to any real number. If we live in the t time, then t time had begining at t=0
In that particular model, we live in BOTH
We interpret it as t while mathematically is Q
 
  • #27
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1 Where would you put inflation on the blue curve?
2 t=1 is how much in seconds?
1
There is 1 to 1 mapping between t and Q
So take inflation era in t and map it to Q

2
This is a model only
I wrote Q=t-1/t but it can be
Q=A*t-B/t with some unknown A and B
Or another function at all.
I just wanted to show that you can map FINITE interval after the BB until NOW to an INFINITE interval.
 
  • #28
Wallace
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I have just reread all the responses and can't find anywhere where someone actually gives any solid reasons. Could you perhaps let me know where they were or give a reason of your own?
I think the miscommunication here is that I suspect when you say "the big bang was like an explosion", what you mean by 'explosion' and what myself and others are assuming you mean might not be the same thing.

Therefore, to clarify the issue it might help to give some more detail about how you are picturing the expanding universe, then we can see more clearly if you are on the right track. It's possible we are using the same words to mean different things; it is a common problem in these sorts of discussions!

In the interum, here are some ways in which the BB is and isn't like an explosion:

NOT like an explosion:

* An explosion occurs due to a pressure differential. The ignition of the bomb raised the pressure at the site, so material moves from that region outwards into the lower pressure surroundings. This is not like the early universe, because the early universe was homogenous so all regions had equal pressure.

* If an explosion sends material outwards, then the expanding ball of material has a centre, an origin. Due to the pressure differential involved, the outflow is not homogenous. If you were riding on some particle in this outflow you could work out where the centre was even if you couldn't see that point by tracking the paths of the particles around you and tracing them back. This is not like the expanding Universe, because the expansion is homogenous.

IS like an explosion:

* If something explodes and sends material outwards, the initial 'kick' gets everything moving, and afterwards the material keep moving due to the conservation of momentum. This is one way in which the BB is somewhat like an explosion, the initial 'kick' from inflation (or possibly some other initial accelerating mechanism) started the expansion, however this quickly switches off and the expansion of the Universe proceeds in an analougous way, it is simply conservation of momentum. The key is that this 'kick' occurs everywhere, equally and isotropically (the same push in every direction).

Note that there are effects at play that alter the expansion after the intial kick is provided. Gravity continually acts to slow it down, and we also are pretty sure that something (dark energy, cosmological constant, something else...) is also now acting to speed up the expansion. It's best not to try and understand these parts in terms of an explosion.
 
  • #29
Wallace
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Ok, but if you are suggesting that time in any way existed before t=0, than BB was not birth of the universe, but (loosely speaking) some kind of 'phase transition'. If universe began at BB then time also did so.
I agree that 'time began at BB' is my preferred way, but only because I can't see it any other way.
What are your thoughts on imaginary time? Is that concept of any use?
I realise the thread has moved on somewhat, but I wanted to respond to this (my response is relevant to the later discussions). I've made a very rough graph to help explain things.

This shows the scale factor, a(t), as a function of time. This first thing to note is that t=0 corresponds to today, as is the norm for doing cosmological calculations. From our position at t=0, we look back in time at the Universe and from these observations and known physics we construct a model for a(t). This is shown by the black line. At some point, a(t) becomes sufficiently small that known physics doesn't give a sensible answer. This is shown by the point around the "?". A lot of guff has been written based on the false assumption that you can simply extend the mathematical model we have for a(t) right down to a=0, this extrapolation is shown in red. There is no reason for doing this, we have no physics that tells us this is likely to be true, our model is simply not applicable in this regime.

Right now, we have no idea what happened before this time. I've put a bunch of aqua lines there to show some possibilities, but the point is we don't know (yet). There are a lot of people working on this problem, and some progress has been made, but nothing is solid enough to have become an established theory as of yet. Hopefully one day this graph can be completed in black, but not yet.

So you can say that 'time began' at the point where a(t)=0, but that is an assertion that is as unsupported by evidence as any other (at present) so I don't know why you would do so.

It is also, I feel, of little use to employ physicsless trickery like negative or imaginary time. As you can see, all time in the past is 'negative' and if the Universe is much older than 13 Billion years (very possible) we don't need to manufacture some kind of crazy new way of thinking about time in order to picture this or theorise about it.

The problem comes back to the name "the Big Bang" which implies some kind of moment, instant of origin. In fact modern cosmology theory tells us nothing about some instant of creation, instead it tells us a great deal about the history of the Universe from today going back to about 13-14 Billion years ago. At the point at which currrent theory 'gives up' the Universe is very hot and dense, but importantly it is not infintely dense, or infinitely small in size. Those concepts are derived from inappropriate extrapolations of current theory.

A far more descriptive name would be the "expansion from a hot dense state" theory, but that's not quite as catchy as "the Big Bang". Incidently though, the TV show of the same name has a theme song that starts with
Code:
The whole Universe was in a hot dense state when 14 Billion years ago expansion started..
That's as good a catch-cry as I've heard for it!
 

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  • #30
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There is 1 to 1 mapping between t and Q
So take inflation era in t and map it to Q

2
This is a model only
I wrote Q=t-1/t but it can be
Q=A*t-B/t with some unknown A and B
Or another function at all.
I just wanted to show that you can map FINITE interval after the BB until NOW to an INFINITE interval.

You are introducing new quantity as a function of time, and then calling that quantity time? And on top of that, you are implying that it would be useful to stretch it to infinity, which is very thing that should be avoided.
 
  • #31
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This purely mathematical trick allows you to get rid of the special moment t=0.
So there is no question 'what was before t=0' or even 'what was at t=0'

As there is 1 to 1 mapping between t and Q;
And in system Q there is no problem with t<=0;
then the problem can be avoided by the renormalisation
And the problem itself is unphysical
 
  • #32
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So you can say that 'time began' at the point where a(t)=0, but that is an assertion that is as unsupported by evidence as any other (at present) so I don't know why you would do so.

If I am following you correctly, we could state that BB was the expansion from hot dense state, which lasted (hot dense state) unknown amount of time before BB?
 
  • #33
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Yes. But it is just one option.
I wanted to provide some examples.

Truth will be discovered by TOE. My point is that we must ready to everything: we should not expect an answer from TOE 'what was before the BB'. The answer could be N/A, or that the question does not make sense at all.
 
  • #34
Sorry to ressurect this thread but I've started a blog on this and was hoping that some of you could visit it and tell me what you think.
The address is http://phil-astroscott.blogspot.com/2010/06/hi-im-phil-and-ive-decided-to-take-my.html" [Broken]
This link is to my first post as I'd like it if people started there.

I'll admit I'm a little nervous about announcing this as it's a not exactly the mainstream view.
I'm not the most frequent poster but I'll try harder in the future.
 
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  • #35
Chronos
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The concept of time before matter is meaningless - no matter, no clocks. Eternal time has no persistent reference frame.
 
  • #36
The concept of time before matter is meaningless - no matter, no clocks. Eternal time has no persistent reference frame.
Sorry but who was talking about time before matter.
 
  • #37
marcus
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Sorry to ressurect this thread but I've started a blog on this and was hoping that some of you could visit it and tell me what you think.
The address is http://phil-astroscott.blogspot.com/2010/06/hi-im-phil-and-ive-decided-to-take-my.html" [Broken]
...
Your blog is really nice visually and the tone is modest and friendly. New Zealand seems like a nice place. The NZ scenery carries over and suggests that the universe is also a nice place.

I think you should broaden the scope of your blog and allow for both some LEARNING and some recent NEWS about the universe. Focus less on your alternative ideas about the bb and inflation.

Are you familiar with those blue and red oval maps of the microwave sky? The CMB temperature maps? They show the temperature as it would be measured by an observer who is at rest relative to the expansion process, or if you like relative to the ancient matter.
The actual measured temp map, because the solar system is moving at about 370 km/s ina certain direction relative to the CMB, would have a hot spot in that direction and a cold spot in the reverse direction. Simple doppler. That doppler dipole, that hotspot coldspot artifact of our absolute motion, is taken out of the data before the map that you see is made.

Absolute time, absolute rest, absolute motion, and the "proper distance" measure that goes with them are everyday familiar appliances to cosmologists. They even come with the standard model of the universe that virtually everyone uses. Technically called the LambdaCDM version of the Friedmann Robertson Walker Lemaître model, but the technical terminology is a nuisance.
Proper distance is what you would measure if you had enough time and used radar, or timed a flash of light, having first STOPPED THE EXPANSION at some given instant in time.
You stop the expansion process at a given instant and then see how long it is for a flash of light to reach the other galaxy. That tells its proper distance at that given instant.

Some people call that the "freeze-frame" distance. Because the distance doesn't change while you are measuring it. The distance one would measure like that at this present moment, today, has a special name: "comoving". Again the jargon words are a nuisance but that's life.

Ned Wright's calculator converts redshift to the today proper distance. Try it out.

THE DISTANCE TO MOST of the GALAXIES we can see using a telescope are INCREASING FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT not because of inflation but just because that is how it is. General Relativity allows this (although the earlier "special" theory did not) and in fact the standard model with the jargon name REQUIRES it.

This doesn't have anything to do with time dilation (your reasoning in your blog). It is true using our plain old earthbased clocks. It is true using the "universe time" built into the standard cosmology model. It is true simply because Gen Rel gives a more accurate picture of dynamic geometry than one gets from Euclid or from Special Rel---and in the more accurate form of geometry distances are allowed to increase. Distances can increase between objects which are stationary relative to the ancient CMB light, or the ancient matter, or the expansion process, or however you like to think of it.

The Hubble law v = Hd is formulated in terms of proper distance. Whenever you use the Hubble law you are using proper distance. d is the distance and v is the rate it is increasing (Since we are only going 370 km/s absolute motion, our time is approximately the same as universe standard time, so the idea of rate of distance increase is not ambiguous.)

If you look at v = Hd you will see that if d is big enough the rate of increase v must exceed lightspeed c. In fact MOST galaxies which we are now looking at have distances more than enough to make the recession rate exceed c.

There are other distance measures, and Ned Wright's calculator gives some of them as well. But for starters, I would suggest getting familiar with the type of distance that goes into Hubble's law.

Google "Wright calculator" and put in a few sample redshifts.

For other types of distance (like how long the light took to get here etc etc.) there is a survey paper by Hogg that I recall reading some years back. Probably googling "Hogg astronomy distances" would get it. But if you want a link, just ask.

There is another simpler calculator, by Morgan, that I like. Google "cosmos calculator".
The only drawback is that at the start of a session you have to enter your three parameters (.27, .73, 71) for matter fraction, cosmo constant, and Hubble constant. You get the proper distance out, and the rate it is increasing, for different redshifts.

There is a nice Scientific American article by Lineweaver and Davis (Australians). I have a link in my signature. It is the "anu.edu.au/~charley" link.

You may know all this stuff and want more advanced sources and comment. If this is too rudimentary for you please say! I wanted to start with very basic stuff. Especially if you want Hogg's explanation of astronomy's alternative distance measures, ask for the link!
 
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  • #38
Fredrik
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There is a nice Scientific American article by Lineweaver and Davis (Australians). I have a link in my signature. It is the "princeton.edu" link.
The link doesn't work anymore. I don't know a direct link that works. The only way I know to read it for free is to allow your browser to accept cookies from scientificamerican.com and then click the link in the Wikipedia article.

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2724014
 
  • #39
Ich
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marcus said:
THE DISTANCE TO MOST of the GALAXIES we can see using a telescope are INCREASING FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT not because of inflation but just because that is how it is. General Relativity allows this (although the earlier "special" theory did not) and in fact the standard model with the jargon name REQUIRES it.

This doesn't have anything to do with time dilation (your reasoning in your blog).
It has to do with time dilation.
I didn't understand what you're talking about in your blog, astroscott, but speeds in cosmology always are coordinate artifacts. You're simply free to choose the coordinates you like, and FRW coordinates are quite different from SR-like (or "static") coordinates. So no use demanding "velocities" being less than c.

That said, inflation is described by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Sitter_space" [Broken].
In that article, you'll find 5 sets of coordinates for the exactly same condition. If you use static coordinates, like in SR, all velocities are less than c. There is time dilation. There is a horizon, like in a black hole. Which means that the coordinates don't cover the whole universe, but only the observable universe. And within the observable universe, all those "superluminal" galaxies conform to the SR speed limit.
If you use FRW coordinates (ok, too difficult to explain, but "flat slicing" corresponds to FRW coordinates after introducing "proper distance", which is necessary to get superluminal motion as standard FRW coordinates are constant for every comoving thing), there is exponential expansion and superluminal motion. And no time dilation. But it is the same universe.

So, most of the confusion exists because cosmologists use different coordinates that you'd think, but fail to communicate that situation.
What is left is the following unsatisfactory - but true - statement: "relative velocity" at a distance is quite arbitrary if you use v = "distance change" per time. Because distance is relative, and time is also.
 
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  • #40
marcus
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The link doesn't work anymore. I don't know a direct link that works. The only way I know to read it for free is to allow your browser to accept cookies from scientificamerican.com and then click the link in the Wikipedia article.

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2724014
Fredrik, thanks for alerting me to that! There is an alternate copy at Charles Lineweaver's site at his university. The quality is just as good, and no magazine advert nuisance or cookies. So I changed the link in my signature.
 
  • #41
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Hi, Just a quick question.

Does anyone know the original reason for discarding the idea of the big bang as an explosion?
Because there were no matches available at that time to ignite the explosion.

hmmm.
 
  • #42
russ_watters
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Because there were no matches available at that time to ignite the explosion.
I think part of what motivates this question is the fact that not only do people not understand what the Big Bang was, but most people don't really know what explosions are either. Just seeing a fireball in a movie doesn't tell you anything about what is going on inside it or how it works.

For example, it was mentioned earlier, but not picked-up by the OP that the primary component/effect of an explosion in air (or water) is an extremely powerful shock wave in an existing medium. Behind that expanding shock wave and outside the fireball (if there even is one) there may be very little else happening and all of the material in the shock wave (and much of what makes up the fireball in many explosions) is pre-existing material that wasn't part of the object that exploded. In other words, what kills most people and destroys most property in a bomb blast isn't the pieces of the bomb flying at you and hitting you or the fireball burning you, but rather the shock wave crushing you. Most movie "explosions" are heavy on the fireball part, but barely qualify as explosions. These days, with many "explosions" being CGI, you'll notice the building isn't even badly damaged by the blast, just by the fire. That's not an explosion, it's just a big fire.

Even if there is a fireball in a real explosion, the fireball itself isn't uniformly expanding (and there are many different types of explosions). Expansion of gases happens with a pressure gradient, so the outder edges are going to initially expand much faster than the inner parts and both the temperature and pressure will have a substantial gradient.

None of this except for the fireball bears even superficial resemblance to what happened at the Big Bang. And the fireball's resemblance is very superficial - it isn't any better than calling the Sun a big fireball.
 
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