The Universe Had a Beginning
by Dr. Stephen Meyer
(Video Transcript🙂 Hubble came into astronomy in the 1920’s at a very propitious time. It was at just the time that astronomers were gaining access to these large dome telescopes that were able to resolve very tiny pinpoints of light in the night sky. Prior to Hubble and the scientists who were looking into the night sky in the 1920’s, there was debate among astronomers as to whether or not the Milky Way galaxy, in which our solar system resides, was the only galaxy, or whether there might be others beyond it. Hubble resolved that issue as he also resolved these points of light, because as he looked through this great dome telescope at the Palomar Observatory, he was able to determine that little points of light that had been viewed through ordinary telescopes before, and just looked like little points, actually revealed galaxies—whole galaxies with hundreds and millions of stars.
The picture behind us is a Spindle Nebula, and he saw Spiral Nebula, many different galaxies in every quadrant of the sky. Such that today, astronomers have something they call the “Hubble Deep Field,” and it’s a picture of the night sky. On the picture behind you’ll see a little square box, a little quadrant. Now the next slide is going to be that quadrant magnified further and you see that even in the tiniest little square in the night sky there are galaxies galore.
And so, the first thing that Hubble determined was that we live in an immense universe. It was grand in scope beyond our wildest imaginations; galaxies in every direction. Now that was just awe-inspiring, but there was also a very theoretically and philosophically significant discovery that he made that was closely associated with this, and that is the discovery that these galaxies are moving away from us. In every direction of the night sky the galaxies are receding. And the evidence for that came from something called “Red Shift.” It’s that the light coming from those distant galaxies was redder in its hue, in its electromagnetic spectrum, in its color, than it would otherwise be if the galaxies were stationary in relationship to us.
How many have heard of the Doppler Effect? Do you know of that? If you have a train moving away from us, the sound of the train whistle will drop in pitch. Well the drop in pitch corresponds to a shift in wavelength. Up in Seattle, we have these…I don’t know if you can talk about beer commercials in a church, but why not…we have these beer commercials for Rainier Beer. And they had these guys dressed up as beer cans that rode around on motor bikes. And at the end of the commercial they would ride off into the sunset saying, “Raaainieeerrrrr Beeeeer,” and you had the Doppler shift happening. I’m probably the only person that watched that and thought Doppler shift rather than let’s go get a brewsky…