Imagine plucking a man from the middle of the 20th century and bringing him into your day to day life like a foreign exchange student.
Questions would fly, beyond any doubt, and so an exhausting deal of exposition would be needed to bring your guest up to speed with the contemporary world that the breakneck acceleration of our technology has brought us to. But the task could be done: some guidance could leap him from the tv screens he knew to those now in our pockets; he might realize the internet by imagining a network of super phone lines; and today’s culture would quickly show itself as just some flashy new flavors of the same human nature he’d known.
However, there is an aspect of our culture today that he’d almost certainly trip over the moment someone offhandedly mentioned it:
“Oh right… Um, so they found out that there was this big bang that everything came out of. And that’s where, like, the universe all came from, this super big explosion in space.”
Now, it may not be told that quick and clumsily, but the point remains: the big bang theory sounds rather odd to someone who hasn’t lived the majority of their life surrounded by it. And if the host had gone into further detail, it’d likely only seem stranger, and the visitor might soon have some troubling questions:
This theory only plays if you ignore Newton’s laws of physics?
Everything just suddenly exploded out of nothing? Out of a ridiculously small space with infinite capabilities?
They observe things all the time that don’t make sense with this theory?
What would likely cross his mind is that this person, his host, doesn’t know what he’s talking about; he’s some buffoon, ill-informed, or he’s messing with him. However, later on, after speaking with others who confirm what his host said, he could start seeing himself as the buffoon for not understanding, or he might simply accept what he’s hearing with little overview in order to stand comfortably alongside the pack; the basic guiding thoughts being: Am I really right and everyone else is wrong? Or am I just wrong? They all get it… and I don’t want to be against everybody.
The above is a rough mock-up of mob mentality. When everyone’s going one way, you don’t really want to go the other. You want to join the energy, you want to pile on the bandwagon; and that’s because it’s comfortable being arm in arm sharing fellowship with the masses, and far less stressful than dissenting from them.
But what exactly created the masses that our hypothetical “visitor” would have experienced? Why is the big bang the common understanding? Why is it the explanation that most people have in the back of their minds?
To put it simply, the big bang theory came to be then came to be accepted because of something called red shift. The discovery and understanding of red shift is what first launched the theory, and over the following decades, it’s become the platform which it stands on and which it holds as a trump card over contesting beliefs.
What is it?
Any observed light, such as the light from a distant star, lies on a spectrum that is based upon the frequency of the light: the frequency that the light shows is what defines where it is placed along the spectrum. When light from a distant star appears at a lower frequency—a shift towards the red area on the spectrum—it’s believed that the object, the distant star, must be moving away. This is often likened to the sound you hear when a car approaches you compared to the sound you hear when it’s moving away; we wouldn’t see much blue shift, or higher frequency, if the object was moving towards us, but we would see noticeable red shift if the object was moving away—as says the common understanding of red shift.
If an object is showing a light frequency that’s 30% lower than the standard, then it’s believed the object is moving away from us at 30% the speed of light. That speed is known as the recessional velocity of an object, and it’s believed that recessional velocity has a direct relationship with the distance of an object from the viewer: so when a percentage is observed, there’s already an amount of distance that’s been predetermined as a match for that percentage.
Using this system, astronomers have been measuring the frequencies of light emitted by various objects in the sky then assigning those objects with the approximate distance away that their recessional velocity translates to. In this way, estimates of the size and age of the universe were created, along with the big bang theory. And to this day, red shift remains the most cited piece of evidence for the big bang. As well, the age and distance of celestial objects today is still being determined by red shift.
For proponents of the big bang theory, and the larger scientific community in general, it’s been the golden key to unlocking space. Trust in its precise legitimacy sits beside gravity as the foundation for the world’s current understanding of all that we see out in space. If it’s incorrect or has been misunderstood, our current understanding of the age and size of the cosmos is void, along with all the measurements of distance we’ve collected between us and other objects in the sky, and as well, the big bang theory collapses.
Red shift has been misunderstood. It’s as simple and clear-cut as that. In fact, glaring problems with red shift have existed for decades, ones that cripple the way it’s used to calculate the sky. But these defeating problems have been ignored again and again as mistakes or bizarre anomalies that will soon be ironed out. Yet, decades later, instances of these problems have only grown, and the latest technology has made it nearly impossible to hide them away as mistakes or anomalies.
The fall of red shift truly began with the work of Halton Arp; an award-winning astronomer who worked as Edwin Hubble’s assistant. Arp, during his time working at the observatories on Mt Palomar and Mt Wilson, took notice of a number of peculiarities in some of the galaxies he was monitoring. One such peculiarity was quasars he’d spot with incredibly high red shifts, meaning they’re very far away, partnered with galaxies that have low red shifts and are known to be close.
He began finding and photographing such pairings all over the sky. Yet, despite the sheer number of discoveries, all of them were brushed away as impossible due to the deeply rooted reliance on red shift’s conventional understanding amongst his academic community; if it fell, their work was corrupt, and they fell. So every discovery was said to be a mistake, and the objects he was seeing were actually a great distance apart from each other.
But Arp continued to find greater and greater evidence, collecting images that showed quasars in intimate union with the galaxies they were supposed to be vast distances away from. He even presented multiple images of different pairings showing materia stretching out from a galaxy directly to a quasar which shows a radically different red shift. Though his increasing evidence only resulted in his works being denied publication, and his time with major observatories being taken away; a mockery to the scientific method which should have brought an even more scrutinous eye on his results, pointing more telescopes on what he claimed to be seeing, instead of turning away and ignoring the findings altogether.
In regards to his work, Carl Sagan had this to say:
“There is nevertheless a nagging suspicion among some astronomers, that all may not be right with the deduction, from the redshift of galaxies via the Doppler effect, that the universe is expanding. The astronomer Halton Arp has found enigmatic and disturbing cases where a galaxy and a quasar, or a pair of galaxies, that are in apparent physical association have very different redshifts”
“If Arp is right, the exotic mechanisms proposed to explain the energy source of distant quasars — supernova chain reactions, supermassive black holes and the like — would prove unnecessary. Quasars need not then be very distant. But some other exotic mechanism will be required to explain the redshift. In either case, something very strange is going on in the depths of space.”
The five surrounding images are all shots of what’s known as the Stephan Quintet: which is a cluster of five galaxies. One of the galaxies, NGC 7320, has a dramatically different red shift than the others which caused astronomers to announce that it couldn’t possibly be part of the cluster. However, on closer examination, a bridge was observed connecting this galaxy with NGC 7318A+B.
The bridge can be seen in the photo at the top, and then in a later x-ray photon on the top right, and then in an even later infrared photo on the bottom left.
Below is a recently taken image which shows a quasar directly in front of a galaxy which is supposed to be an immense distance closer to us based on its red shift. And, to be clear, this should be impossible based on the conventional understanding of red shift.
END OF PART 1
1. Anomalous redshift companion galaxies: NGC 7603 – N.A. Sharp.
2. Galaxies and the Universe – Alternate Approaches and the Redshift Controversy (William C. Keel).
3. The Discovery of a High Redshift X-Ray Emitting QSO Very Close to the Nucleus of NGC 7319.
4. The double radio source 3C343.1: A galaxy-QSO pair with very different redshifts – H. Arp, E.M. & G. Burbidge.
5. Galaxies and Quasars linked by a bridge of matter