By: Srushti Nerkar
From: Princeton Junction, NJ, USA
The Importance of Astrophysics
We know that there is an outside universe more than we can imagine outside of our tiny blue
dot. There are black holes, supernovas, exoplanets, star explosions etc. Astrophysics is becoming more relevant now due to the observations we see through the Hubble Telescope. In order to understand how these cosmic phenomenons happen, we need to understand the field of astrophysics. Astrophysicists use physics concepts such as electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics. They apply their prior knowledge of physics to the world of astronomy to uncover the perplexing phenomenon of outer space. When scientists understand how these phenomenons happen, it gets them closer to understanding how the universe began. Scientists have multiple theories of how the universe was created, however, one is the most widely known - The Big Bang Theory.
Who created the Big Bang Theory?
In 1927, an astronomer named Georges Lemaître theorized that the universe began with a catastrophic explosion of a “superatom,” which he thought was hydrogen. He also theorized that the universe is continuously expanding/stretching in all directions and that it is still expanding to this day. However, there wasn’t much evidence to prove that the universe is continuously expanding at the time. A few years later, another astronomer named Edwin Hubble, with the use of extensive knowledge of redshifts , realized that the galaxies were moving further and further away from the Milky Way and that the farthest galaxies were moving away the fastest. He then inferred that if the galaxies were moving away from each other, then the universe started at a single point. This was crucial evidence that supported the Big Bang Theory, which made it one of the most recognized theories in astronomy.
The Universe at its Earliest Stages
The Big Bang Theory also states that the universe began when tiny particles came together to form atoms due to the presence of light and energy. This eventually created the first element in the universe: hydrogen (the first element in the periodic table). However, due to the presence of high temperatures, the universe was unstable and resulted in an explosion. This explosion, allowed the universe to cool down and eventually separate, creating more atoms, leading to new elements. These elements were then able to build on top of each other to create the space phenomenons we are familiar with today, including our planet.
So, What’s Next?
If the Big Bang Theory is proven correct, this would raise even more questions to astrophysicists. For example, if the universe is continuously expanding, will it eventually stop or continue forever?” If the universe will continuously expand forever, scientists also have to consider dark energy, which is a mysterious force that causes the rate of the expansion of our universe to accelerate over time. With increasing technology and intelligent intellectuals, the future will perhaps give us explanations to prove or even dispute the Big Bang Theory.
Author: Srushti Nerkar
Srushti is a junior who is passionate about biology research in forensics. In her free time, she loves to watch Star Wars movies and find new DIY crafts to do.