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Thread: How are you able to "see" the big bang with a radio telescope?

  1. #1
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    How are you able to "see" the big bang with a radio telescope?

    Note: I know nothing about the Big bang Theory, really. xD

    I was watching Canadian news and they were talking about a huge project where they build a bunch of radio telescopes in a pattern and link them together to make one, kind of. They said they will be able to see, black holes, stars, radio frequencies, and even as far as the big bang itself. So how do you "see" the big bang itself when it happened so long ago? It it like how light travels at the speed of light and takes time to get to Earth, so we could see a star and it is already dead, because the light is just hitting us now?

    I know radio telescopes are different than things like the Hubble Telescope that sees light....

  2. #2
    Curmudgeon of Lucidity Grumpy's Avatar
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    garbonzo

    Light takes 13,7 billion years to travel 13.7 billion light years. And the expansion of space has stretched the light of the Big Bang so much it is now in the microwave spectrum. Radio astronomy uses the microwave spectrum, therefore, theoretically a radio telescope could see the Big Bang. We already have satelites that have observed the Cosmic Background Radiation which was released from the opaque Universe some 300 million years after the Big Bang.

    Grumpy

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by garbonzo View Post
    so we could see a star and it is already dead, because the light is just hitting us now?
    We see the star as it was in the past.

    Looking outward in space is looking backward in time.

    Galaxies 10 billion light years away are seen as they were 10 billion years ago (sort of, there's a lot else going on).

    So, if we look far enough back, we can see the first light after the universe stopped being opaque and became transparent to photons - about 377,000 years after the BB. it will look like a wall of radiation. Not entirely sure how they'll look past that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang

  4. #4
    The light from the start of the BB heads "straight" into nothingness. It is impossible to see clearly with anything. Yet extrapolating the direction of the traveling light will eventually lead you to a slight angle due to gravitational effects of the spherical universe. So after a while (billions of years) the light kind of makes a circle back away from the event horizon inside this black hole we refer to as the universe and heads toward the center. Since nothing can exist outside of this horizon it technically is still a straight line.

    Radio telescopes use elements which specifically pick up what we currently believe to be "the light from the big bang". But if you stare really really closely at anything you will realize that "it" is in fact made of light from the initial big bang. The light is just so dense, organized, and above all constant that an object appears to our vision solid and entirely different than such abstractions as "the big bang", a "black hole", or "light".

    Radio telescopes just pick detect the light as it is returning to it's original source.

  5. #5
    Like nailing Jello to a tree AlexG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NietzscheHimself View Post
    The light from the start of the BB heads "straight" into nothingness. It is impossible to see clearly with anything. Yet extrapolating the direction of the traveling light will eventually lead you to a slight angle due to gravitational effects of the spherical universe. So after a while (billions of years) the light kind of makes a circle back away from the event horizon inside this black hole we refer to as the universe and heads toward the center. Since nothing can exist outside of this horizon it technically is still a straight line.

    Radio telescopes use elements which specifically pick up what we currently believe to be "the light from the big bang". But if you stare really really closely at anything you will realize that "it" is in fact made of light from the initial big bang. The light is just so dense, organized, and above all constant that an object appears to our vision solid and entirely different than such abstractions as "the big bang", a "black hole", or "light".

    Radio telescopes just pick detect the light as it is returning to it's original source.
    Do you just make this up as you go along, or did you actually read this on some crank website?

  6. #6
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    we can't see the big bang. furthest back we can currently see is the CMBR.

  7. #7
    Guy's, your straying from the query of the initial poster into quibbling about your intellectual honesty, integrity or validity. Rather than spamming up the joint with quarrels about who-woo'd what, can't you just appreciate online sources that explore the question to it's fullest and point the OP in the right direction.

    perhaps:
    http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/

  8. #8
    Like nailing Jello to a tree AlexG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NietzscheHimself View Post
    The light from the start of the BB heads "straight" into nothingness..
    Wrong. First of all, photons were not free to travel untill about 377,000 years after the BB. Until then, they were trapped by the charged cloud of ions which filled the expanding universe.

    It is impossible to see clearly with anything. Yet extrapolating the direction of the traveling light will eventually lead you to a slight angle due to gravitational effects of the spherical universe.
    Wrong. The light traveled in all directions once the recombination took place. There is no slight angle, and the universe is not spherical.

    So after a while (billions of years) the light kind of makes a circle back away from the event horizon inside this black hole we refer to as the universe and heads toward the center. Since nothing can exist outside of this horizon it technically is still a straight line.
    Wrong. The universe is not a Black Hole, and there is no center.

    Radio telescopes use elements which specifically pick up what we currently believe to be "the light from the big bang".
    Wrong. Radio telescopes detect photons in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum. What it can detect, in addition to numerous radio sources, is the CMB.

    But if you stare really really closely at anything you will realize that "it" is in fact made of light from the initial big bang. The light is just so dense, organized, and above all constant that an object appears to our vision solid and entirely different than such abstractions as "the big bang", a "black hole", or "light".

    Radio telescopes just pick detect the light as it is returning to it's original source
    And this is so wrong it's just silly.

    What don't I know or what did I say that was incorrect?
    So basically, everything you said was incorrect. Which is what I said before. But if you really want a statement by statement breakdown, there it is.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Wrong. First of all, photons were not free to travel untill about 377,000 years after the BB. Until then, they were trapped by the charged cloud of ions which filled the expanding universe.
    Excuse me for omitting irrelevant data to someone who knows nothing about the BB.

    Trapped by something which was dense and small enough to keep photons from exiting? Sounds in line with what I said previously.

    Wrong. The light traveled in all directions once the recombination took place. There is no slight angle, and the universe is not spherical.
    so if you look through a telescope in the summer and then again in the winter you would measure different distances to the end of the observable universe?

    There are no straight lines in nature...


    Wrong. The universe is not a Black Hole, and there is no center.
    So it started out with the same properties as what other observable object? Read my first reply to your misguided quotations in this post...
    I don't remember saying there was a center unless you infer that that the universe as a whole is it's own center. Which you should have done if you had the ability to read.


    Wrong. Radio telescopes detect photons in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum. What it can detect, in addition to numerous radio sources, is the CMB.
    So the answer to the op's question is radio telescopes don't detect anything from the BB.

    The point is they use a very specific element to pick up this CMB. Not they pick up light in the nonvisable range which is a retarded point to make, because if they picked them up in the visible range uhh... we would see this false "white noise from the BB" with our own two eyes at a significantly less cost...ie. A pair of glasses at most.



    So basically, everything you said was incorrect. Which is what I said before. But if you really want a statement by statement breakdown, there it is.
    Ha. So very predictable... Let me guess your next post. You will still argue the universe didn't start as a black hole. Say something to the tune of "something can't be it's own center". Falsify the distances to the edge of the observable universe. Then prove that straight lines exist in nature when you can't even grasp the shape of the universe. To the last I will later inquire how you expect some of the light from the BB to return anywhere where a telescope can find it.

  10. #10
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    So, garbonzo, as you have noticed, there are two types of responses on Sci Forums.

    There are
    - the answers generally accepted by the vast majority of scientists who do this for a living, with the support of, and under the watchful eye of, the entire scientific community and the rest of the world, and
    - the answers created by individuals whose scientific understanding is divorced from the rest of the science community and the mainstream sciences, and who back it up by saying they are their own harshest critics.

    Now, far be it from me or anyone else here on the board to tell you which you should listen to. That is entirely up to you. That's fair.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 04-05-12 at 05:48 PM.

  11. #11
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    Trapped by something which was dense and small enough to keep photons from exiting?
    there was nowhere for them to "exit" to.

    so if you look through a telescope in the summer and then again in the winter you would measure different distances to the end of the observable universe?
    no. the cmbr is homogeneous and isotropic and is the "same distance" from us in all directions.

    So it started out with the same properties as what other observable object?
    it started as a singularity (open to debate) not a black hole. a black hole describes an object in spacetime. the black hole is the event horizon which is viewed from outside. so the universe is not like a black hole.

    So the answer to the op's question is radio telescopes don't detect anything from the BB.
    to be pedantic everything we detect is from the BB.

    You will still argue the universe didn't start as a black hole.
    see above.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Boris2;2923690]


    no. the cmbr is homogeneous and isotropic and is the "same distance" from us in all directions.
    Would that be spherical then?


    it started as a singularity (open to debate) not a black hole. a black hole describes an object in spacetime. the black hole is the event horizon which is viewed from outside. so the universe is not like a black hole.
    so if you were outside the gravitational pull of the universe it would look like what?


    to be pedantic everything we detect is from the BB.
    Agreed. Why don't we then use "everything" to detect the BB instead of a single element that only picks up one frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum?


    see above.
    You are honest about the omissions in "our" knowledge. Which is more than I can say about some people. Please pardon me when sarcasm speaks for my ignorance.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NietzscheHimself View Post
    so if you were outside the gravitational pull of the universe it would look like what?
    It is impossible by definition to be outside the universe, let alone outside the gravitational influence of it. This is basic cosmology.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris2 View Post
    there was nowhere for them to "exit" to.



    no. the cmbr is homogeneous and isotropic and is the "same distance" from us in all directions.



    it started as a singularity (open to debate) not a black hole. a black hole describes an object in spacetime. the black hole is the event horizon which is viewed from outside. so the universe is not like a black hole.



    to be pedantic everything we detect is from the BB.



    see above.
    Plus, universe cannot be a black hole, it's simply impossible for the universe to evolve from the black hole because of its hyper-intense gravity which would crush processes responsible for the universe evolution in the first place to sub-atomic levels (if not even below this).
    Cheers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    It is impossible by definition to be outside the universe, let alone outside the gravitational influence of it. This is basic cosmology.
    Well, it impossible to know if there is something beyond the visible part of the universe, because we didn't actually detect with telescopes the very beginning of stars, galaxies and etc...
    Cheers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravage View Post
    Well, it impossible to know if there is something beyond the visible part of the universe...
    True, but we're not talking about the Observable Universe here. We are talking about what was produced from the Big Bang, of which the OU is only a portion.

    NH wanted to know what the entire universe would look like "if you could get outside it". It is a nonsensical question by the definition of the words.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    True, but we're not talking about the Observable Universe here. We are talking about what was produced from the Big Bang, of which the OU is only a portion.

    NH wanted to know what the entire universe would look like "if you could get outside it". It is a nonsensical question by the definition of the words.
    That's true, but also it's still questionable if the invisible part of the universe is created in the big bang or not, it could easily be that is some outside space as well, but we can't really know, since this invisible part of the universe will always remain undetectable.
    Cheers.

  18. #18
    That particular question devides those who believe the expanding universe has a front that constantly pushes outward from those that don't.

  19. #19
    flat Earth skeptic Aqueous Id's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NietzscheHimself View Post
    That particular question devides those who believe the expanding universe has a front that constantly pushes outward from those that don't.
    One of the puzzling ideas behind this is connected to the notion that spacetime is created in the Big Bang.

    I'm not sure is possible to imagine what the absence of spacetime really means. A lot of wiring has been done in the brain to give us spatial perception, and it may be next to impossible to deprogram it.

    But in order to understand how space is created out of non-space (anti-space?) - I mean, what that really means - makes it hard to understand how a front pushes out. In other words, there is nothing to push out into if there is no space beyond the front.

    When we talk about the absence of space we usually mean a dimensionless point. For sake of argument, assume a sphere, a balloon. The front is what you mean if you look from inside the balloon to the inside surface of its skin. But viewed from the outside, our balloon is dimensionless. It occupies no space, because there is no space outside of itself. It is a dimensionless point that paradoxically happens to contain (from our scale) vast space, energy and matter and is ever expanding.

    Another puzzling aspect of this involves the warpage presented wherever we look into an event horizon. If at every point in the sky we look far enough to see the early radiation of the Big Bang event, then are we not looking into an event horizon, that is, a collapsing light cone that distorts our perception of geometry? Space collapses there, so what could we possibly hope to learn about its geometry without a homogeneous spaceframe to render it by?
    Last edited by Aqueous Id; 04-06-12 at 02:23 PM.

  20. #20
    Like nailing Jello to a tree AlexG's Avatar
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    If at every point in the sky we look far enough to see the early radiation of the Big Bang event, then are we not looking into an event horizon, that is, a collapsing light cone that distorts our perception of geometry?
    But you don't have to look far to see the CMB. It fills all of space. The microwave radiation is passing through your body right now. It's not an expanding wave front in distant space.

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