When I was at school we were not taught about the Big Bang or Cosmology. Instead, I would spend my spare time reading up about the Universe. The images of stars and galaxies fascinated me, to the point I considered studying it at University, in the end, I didn’t. Years later I would be the one teaching these ‘facts’ to students. We so easily take for granted the information we are given without much question. This is ironic considering we teach the students that they must follow the evidence. So let’s take a more critical review of the evidence that we present to students to back up the idea of the Big Bang.
An Expanding Universe
It was Edwin Hubble who, while trying to settle an argument about the size of the Universe, discovered that almost all of the galaxies that he observed had their light shifted towards the red, Red-shift. Hubble observed many hundreds of galaxies and in order to help process this data, he introduced a classification system for galaxies. Using this he determined what the light output for each type of galaxy based on the types of stars it would contain. What he observed, however, was that most of the galaxies did not match this predicted output, in fact, he saw a huge variation in this shift. He postulated that this shift might be due to the movement of the galaxies (similar to the Doppler effect), if the galaxies were moving away faster then this shift would be more extreme, therefore the faster moving ones had to be further away. From this was born the idea (or did it come first?!) that the Universe was expanding. The older a galaxy was the further away it was and the faster it was moving. This implied that if you reversed time that everything must have started at the same point. There are huge problems with his data and even in later life Hubble doubted that Red-shift was connected to the speed that the galaxy was moving away, he believed that there was something else creating this overlying Red-shift in these galaxies. It was however too late by then the idea of an expanding universe stuck and everyone still holds it to Hubble’s name despite him refuting this claim in later life. In the early days, the initial value for the age of the Universe using his data was only 2-3 billion years old. This was simply not enough time to have developed all the stars and galaxies we see in our Universe, this value was later refined through various fudge factor and this is how we end up with the current age of 13.8 billion years. The problem with this value is that in order for this to work the oldest objects must be moving away from us at greater than the speed of light. No problems we will have space itself expanding so that way the object is not moving at greater than the speed of light.
We have also seen in my earlier post on Quasars that the idea of using Red-shift to measure distance is highly questionable
The Sky is full of stars – Alber’s Paradox
When looking out at the night’s sky we observe mostly black with stars spattered across it. Abler speculated that if the Universe was infinite than our night sky should be bright white. In fact, the oceans on the Earth should boil as all the radiation from an infinite number of stars is received. Indeed when we look at the sky we do not see this. This is often used as ‘evidence’ of a finite universe. It is however not evidence of a Big Bang. There are a number of ways to disprove this paradox. Firstly, not having a big bang in no way assumes an infinite Universe, it just means it’s not expanding and may have existed forever. Even if the universe was Infinite the second law of thermodynamics states that an infinite universe as a whole cannot heat up or cool down! It can only heat up if heat is added from the outside. An infinite universe has no outside! In a finite Universe, you could argue that if the Universe had existed forever that the light from all the stars, given enough time, would be enough to turn our night sky white. This argument ignores the simple fact that the first law of thermodynamics states that if a star is heating up its surroundings, it has to cool down equally much itself! Conservation of energy. The only thing that Alber’s paradox shows us that we live in a Universe that has a fixed amount of energy and also that in some sense it is self-organing (more on this in a future article).
Microwave Background Radiation
First discovered by Penzias and Wilson using ground-based radio telescopes. They discovered a Microwave background signal across the whole sky. This signal was very even throughout the whole sky. It had already been speculated that if there was a Big Bang that such a signal would be detected. A sort of afterglow from the Big Bang. There are however a number of problems with first the data itself and secondly how they have interpreted this data. First, let’s talk about the signal to noise ratio. In order to determine if a signal is genuine the first test must be reproducibility. The same signal must be able to produce the same image. If it cannot then the signal is false. The more signal to noise ratio you have the clearer your image you will have. In the original Penzias experiment, they received a signal of 6.7K, to which they attribute 2.3K to the atmosphere and only 0.9K to noise.
Some basic question that we must ask of the first measurements that Penzias and Wilson took. They assumed that the signal was coming from the Universe but failed to look at other possible sources of this signal. Could water (on Earth, in the atmosphere and oceans) have produced this signal? Can we really see beyond the foreground of the galaxy into the Universe?
Let’s start with water. It is well documented that Microwave experiments on Earth are mired with problems when it comes to water. There is a clear link that shows water vapour cause the scanners they use to register a rise in temperature. We also know that the oceans radiate both thermal and microwave radiation but again these were never taken into account. A water dimer consists of two water molecules loosely bonded by a hydrogen bond. Assuming that the molecules align linearly then the energy in the water hydrogen bond is about 100 times greater than the molecule to molecule hydrogen bond. The emission of this system is therefore related to this ratio. So if the energy in the hydrogen bond is 300k then the emission in the water molecule to water molecule bond will the 100 times lower…. 3K!
WMAP satellite was positioned well beyond the orbit of the moon (at L2). This was to ensure no interference from Earth. The problem now was that the galactic centre was almost overwhelming the whole image. In fact, it was 1000 times brighter than the fluctuation in the Cosmic Microwave Background. Remember they don’t actually know that there is a background radiation there, but somehow they are able to extract a signal from the noise (the galactic centre) which is 1000 times stronger. On top of this they also identified around 300 point sources of radiation that they have removed, again these are significantly higher compared to the signal they are trying to detect. All stars and galactic centres are capable of transmitting, in this same frequency range, yet still, they claim they can see a background signal not related to all these sources! We really must go back to basic science, whenever you perform an experiment you must account for any outside noise. Most experiments you may have conducted will have a signal to noise ratio which is greater than 1. Here we are talking 0.001 or lower. The only way you can extract signal if the noise ratio is so large is either you can perfectly predict what the signal will do (we can’t) or you are able to control the signal at its source (again we cannot). It is there impossible to remove the galactic foreground. Below is an image before they have cleaned it up. As you can see the galactic signal overwhelms the image.
So how do they remove the galactic centre? They divide the centre section into 11 sections, some away from the galaxy and some in the plane. They then add or remove the signal in the different bands for each section. The problem is that each region has a different set of additions or subtractions applied to and they can vary from one region to another by 1000%. Worse still, they then use data from different years (Year 1, 3-year average, etc) and they change the value of the sum and in some cases change it from addition to subtraction or vice versa. They are basically creating the image that they desire, there is no testable logic to this. So here it is after their witchcraft…
So how much noise is present in this image? Well, this is an image of the noise they claim that existed in the first image.
Even assuming this is correct they claim to have a signal to noise ratio of 2:1 in this image (personally I find this very hard to believe). Even at this ratio, it is still almost impossible to make out any image. Below are some examples of images taken at 2.5:1 and it is not possible to make out what the image is let alone any detail in the image.
If we compare the 1 year and 3-year average images and take the difference we see the following.
Notice that there is a strong difference between these images. This shows that the so-called signal they see is not constant. They are not able to reproduce their data.
Hopefully, you can start to see that the so-called evidence for a Big Bang really is very weak but still we continue to push it as the only possible theory. So what does this imply for our Universe if there was no Big Bang? First, if Red-shift is not a good measure of distance than our understanding of the structure of the Universe on a large scale is very different from the current one. It is not possible to assign an age to an object based on its redshift, therefore our understanding of the age of our Universe is not correct. We have no idea if there was ever a beginning to our Universe. We cannot say whether our Universe is infinite or not. So what do we know about our Universe? In the next article, I would like to explore more about the evolution of galaxies, stars and solar systems and question whether our current models match up to what we actually see. Follow the evidence, be brave, be curious, the truth is waiting for us. Until next time…