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How do we know the big bang actually happened?

How do we know the big bang actually happened?
Callum from Cumbria (Age: 5-14)


One Response

  1. Hi Young Scientist :).
    We DON’T , know, for certain. But we do think that it is very likely.
    Scientists use the materials found in our environment ( that is both the nearby and the more distant from us) as clues from which to form an opinion. If enough clues fit together – a bit like a jigsaw – to create a picture, then scientists conclude that they have discovered an explanation.
    Other people then make up their own minds about whether they accept the scientific explanation as a complete truth or not.
    About a hundred years ago, a very clever scientist called George Gamov used a powerful telescope that he had made to look at the stars much further away than our own Sun. He was able to measure roughly how far away they were and he noticed that they were all moving further and further away all the time! George Gamov predicted that everything in the universe had been created following the massive explosion of a very, very tiny and very, very dense speck of material. Other clever scientists, among them one John Hubble (using another powerful telescope) also discovered that the more distant these stars were from us, the faster they were travelling as they sped away. More discoveries followed e.g. of the ‘cosmic microwave background’ the ‘noise’ one could say of the ‘echo’ of a big bang.
    From this it was concluded that in earlier times all the stars had been closer together than now, in an almost unimaginably dense state of an alternative type of matter which was ‘self-repelling’. Totally different to the types of matter which we now encounter that are ‘self-attracting’ i.e. possess gravity. Thinking up more ideas from that conclusion, he and fellow scientists formed a picture for how all of our universe probably began many thousands of millions of years ago with massive explosions of the first, most giant stars in supernovae scattering the heavier elements which later joined up or coalesced into stars and their planetary systems such as ours. Further discoveries seem to underpin the ‘Big Bang’ theory of origin.
    This is a very big question and hence even this big answer only begins to cover it. So keep exploring and perhaps conribute ideas of your own…
    I hope this has helped.
    Good Luck,

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