Hubble’s Law, written by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s, describes the expansion of the Universe.
Edwin Hubble & Expansion of the Universe – Timeline
1917: Vesto Slipher discovered that the spectra of galaxies were almost always red shift (moving away). In fact, most galaxies are moving away and 2 out of 15 spirals moving at over 2 million miles per hour.
1929: Edwin Hubble derived distances to these galaxies and showed that implied recessional speed, v1, is proportional to its current distance from us
- Hubble’s Law: V – H0d, where H0 is Hubble’s constant (71 km·s –¹/Mpc), v is velocity, and d is distance
- The value of Hubble’s constant is how fast the Universe is expanding now; if Hubble’s constant is bigger, the Universe is expanding faster
1927: Belgian astronomer, G. Lamaitre, had a similar result, proving that the Universe is expanding
- Combined Einstein’s theory of relativity with the red shifts of spiral galaxies
- Published a paper on mathematical super structure connecting red shifts and expanding Universe of general relativity, but nobody noticed since he was only an obscure Belgian priest and mathematician
- Universe began as a single pinpoint, a primordial soup
1998: Acceleration of the expansion of the Universe is caused by “cosmic anti-gravity” or “dark energy” (still unexplained)
Measuring Velocities of Red Shift
- Light of a galaxy moving away from us will be “red-shifted,” or the wavelength gets longer
- Light of a galaxy moving toward us will be “blue-shifted,” or the wavelength gets shorter
- The faster the speed galaxies travel, the more the “red-shift”
- Objects at the edges of galaxies tend to move faster than objects in the centers
Understanding the Expansion
- Galaxies are all moving away from us: Does that mean we are at the center of the Universe?
- No. There is “no” center. All points in space claim to be the center
- e.g. Raisin bread rising: raising don’t expand, the space between them expands
Olbers’ Paradox— Why is the night sky dark?
- In the 19th century, astronomer Wilhelm Olbers asked: If the Universe is finite, why isn’t the sky bright from starlight?
- The solution is not that stars are increasing far away, but that the apparent brightness of a star decreases (1/d²), the area of shells of stars surrounding the Earth increases like d², so the effects cancel out
- Another solution was that the Universe has finite size, so that not all of the light from all the stars has had time to reach us (Universe expanding); the Universe is 14 billion years old, and we only see “out” 14 billion light years distance from us