Astronomy/Big Bang


QUESTION: With all the new Technology and space Telescopes, I would like to know the location of the initial Big Bang as seen from Earth. Does it lie within a few degrees of the Celestial Equator and in which direction(roughly)to look--say through a particular constellation and the distance in LR.
Thanks  JP

ANSWER: Hello,

Actually, one of the biggest myths of space science-astronomy is that there is a "location" or "center" for the Big bang. In fact, there is none.

One simplistic way to analogize this is to think of a balloon inflating with ink dots all over its surface. (And it is the surface we are all about here). None of those dots can be construed as the 'center' or original location point for the expansion.

Hope this helps!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Let me ask it another way.  When something explodes, fragments fly out in all directions like a baloon expanding.  Assuming the Universe were to stop "expanding" and start "contracting", to which point in the sky as observed from earth, in LY, RA and Decl would all matter congeal?

Jack Parker
Yakima, WA


The problem is that the analogy is wrong. Basically, the Big Bang is totally dissimilar to a terrestrial explosion, including all the geometry, kinematics, dynamics. A good article ('Cosmology's 5 Big Things You Need to Know') can be found in the May, 2007 issue of ASTRONOMY magazine(p. 28). As noted therein (p. 31):

"The universe's beginning wasn't an explosion. It was closer to an unfolding or creation of matter, energy, time...and space itself."

The last is especially important! Thus, the unfolding saw the expansion of space with time. Citing an astronomer (Charles Bennett, lead researcher on the Wilkinson Microwave Array Project)also quoted in the piece:

"The Big Bang is not an accurate name for the theory. What this theory describes is the expansion and cooling of the universe. It doesn't describe an explosion at all."

Hence, even if the universe were to stop expanding, and begin contraction, the effect would bring us no nearer to identifying any specific point for the process - say as observed from Earth. (Think of a film of the expansion but now being reversed or 're-wound' frame by frame. You've only changed the time order but not the phenomenon itself)


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Philip Stahl


I have more than forty years of experience in Astronomy, specifically solar and space physics. My specialties include the physics of solar flares, sunspots, including their effects on Earth and statistics pertaining to sunspot morphology and flare geo-effectiveness.


Astronomy: Worked at university observatory in college, doing astrographic measurements. Developed first ever astronomy curriculum for secondary schools in Caribbean. Gave workshops in astrophysics and astronomical measurements at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. M.Phil. degree in Physics/Solar Physics and more than twenty years as researcher with discovery of SID flares. Developed of first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Develop first ever loop solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators.

American Astronomical Society (Solar Physics and Dynamical Astronomy divisions), American Mathematical Society, American Geophysical Union.

Solar Physics (journal), The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, The Proceedings of the Meudon Solar Flare Workshop (1986), The Proceedings of the Caribbean Physics Conference (1985). Books: 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level'. 'Astronomy and Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'.

B.A. Astronomy, M. Phil. Physics

Awards and Honors
American Astronomical Society Studentship Award (1984), Barbados Government Award for Solar Research (1980), Barbados Astronomical Society Award for Service as Journal Editor (1977-91)

Past/Present Clients
Caribbean Examinations Council, Barbados Astronomical Society, Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society.

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