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Astronomy I

The Big Bang & Galaxies

Overview
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Cosmology Big Bang Theory The Types of Galaxies The Milky Way Galaxy The Properties of Stars The Lives of Stars Formation of our Solar System The Members of our Solar System

Cosmology
Cosmology is the study of the overall structure of the universe. And just what is the Universe? Quite simply, it is everything that exists. However, from Earth we cannot observe everything in the Universe. Some things are dark (brown dwarf stars, planets, and Dark Matter) and we cannot see them. Additionally there are parts of the universe whose light has not yet reached us in this part of the Universe. The observable universe is the Universe that reveals itself through electromagnetic radiation that can be detected on Earth.

Cosmology (cont)
Because that electromagnetic radiation travels at a finite speed we actually look back in time when we look This is simply because of the into the cosmos. finite speed of light. At short distances, like from satellites in orbit of Earth, the light travel time is only a fraction of a second. However, the Sun is so distant from Earth (150,000,000 Kilometers) that its light takes 8 minutes to reach us. So when you look at the sun in the sky (never look at it directly, you'll go blind) you see it as it was 8 minutes ago.

The Big Bang


Big Bang theory is a theory of the origin of the universe. According to this theory, the entire universe was at one time confined in a dense, hot, supermassive concentration

The Big Bang (cont)


About 15 billion years ago, a cataclysmic explosion hurled this material in all directions, creating all matter and space. Eventually the ejected masses of gas cooled and condensed, forming the stellar systems we now observe fleeing from their place of origin.

Evidence for the Big Bang Theory


Accounts for galaxies moving away from us Cosmic Background Radiation (remains of radiation produced by the Big Bang)

Cosmic Timeline

Galaxies
Galaxies are collections of millions or billions of stars bound together by gravity. Galaxies are not randomly distributed throughout the universe. They are grouped in galactic clusters, some containing thousands of galaxies. Our own, called the Local Group, contains at least 28 galaxies .

Types of Galaxy
There are three general types of galaxy Spiral galaxies
Elliptical galaxies Irregular galaxies

Spiral galaxies
Typically disk-shaped Have a somewhat greater concentration of stars near their centers Often contain arms of stars extending from their central nucleus Youngest stars in the arms, oldest in the center

Elliptical galaxies
The most abundant type Have an ellipsoidal shape that ranges to nearly spherical Lack spiral arms Generally made of older stars Very largest and very smallest galaxies

Irregular galaxies
Lack symmetry Account for only 10 percent of the known galaxies Contain mostly young stars

The Milky Way Galaxy


A large, disk-shaped, spiral galaxy about 100,000 light-years wide and about 10,000 lightyears thick at the center. There are three distinct spiral arms of stars, with some showing splintering. Sun rotates around the galactic nucleus once about every 200 million years

The Milky Way Galaxy (cont)


Our Sun (Sol) is positioned in one of these arms about twothirds of the way from the galactic center, at a distance of about 30,000 light-years