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The Role of the Relativistic Doppler Shift in the Evolution of the Current Model of the Universe

The Role of the Relativistic Doppler Shift in the Evolution of the Current Model of the Universe

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An insight into the ideas and experiments which lead to the ideas of the universe today. Considered are the thoughts and ideas from Greek philosophers, through to the austrian physist Christian Doppler, and the ground breaking work of Edwin Hubble, ending with the modern phenomena of quasars, and what these stellar bodies can reveal of our universe.
An insight into the ideas and experiments which lead to the ideas of the universe today. Considered are the thoughts and ideas from Greek philosophers, through to the austrian physist Christian Doppler, and the ground breaking work of Edwin Hubble, ending with the modern phenomena of quasars, and what these stellar bodies can reveal of our universe.

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Sep 01, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
 The Role of theRelativistic DopplerShift in the Evolutionof the Current Modelof the Universe
Name: Laura HoranDate: 12/19/2007
 
 
The Role of the Relativistic Doppler Shift in the Evolution of theCurrent Model of the Universe
The mystery surrounding origins of the Universe has intrigued and mystified theminds of scientists for centuries. Looking back at ancient civilisations, such as the Greeksand Egyptians, we can find evidence of this interest in the cosmos, from their mythologies. Greek philosophers strived to explain and understand the movements of theheavens. Plato advocated the idea of daily motion of the heavens around the immovableearth
(1)
. Copernicus showed that the planets actually orbit around the sun in the fifteenthcentury. Johannes Kepler proved that planets move in elliptical orbits in the sixteenthcentury. The ideas of the cosmologists of the past were built on, until, a universal theoryof the universe emerged, which is today known as the Big Bang.The theory of the Big Bang asserts that the universe started as a smaller,incredibly dense and hot region of matter that has been expanding since its birth, to thesize that the universe is today. This theory has evolved from the observation of theuniverse and the motions of the stars and galaxies. It was been observed by cosmologists,that light coming from stars, experiences a shift in frequency, that is similar to theDoppler shift. These observations, the analysis of spectra of light from the galaxies in theuniverse, and the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background have reaffirmed the belief in the theory of the Big Bang.The Doppler Effect is the apparent change in the frequency of sound, which isemitted by a sound source, approaching or receding from the observer at a certainvelocity. This phenomenon was named after the Austrian physicist Christian Doppler inthe nineteenth century. The relativistic Doppler effect, is based on the same principles asthe classical Doppler Effect, where
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11, except that its associatedequations take into account the effects of relativistic effects of the theory of specialrelativity.This same effect is observed in stars and galaxies that are approaching us, or moving away. The frequency of the wavelengths from the light emitted will be shiftedwith respect to that same wavelength of light, emitted when the source of light is at rest.Red shifts caused by the expanding universe are called Cosmological Red Shifts. This isnot the same as the Doppler Effect, where the source is moving towards or away from us.The Cosmological Red Shift is caused by the expansion of the universe; which occurswhile the light is travelling, from its source, to where the observation of the light is made,which is observed by us, at Earth.The light emitted from observed stars is analysed, using a technique calledSpectroscopy. In this, light is split into its separate component colours. Then the elements2
 
 present in the star can be identified. Each different element, has a unique pattern of spectral lines, and so can be identified from these observations.Vesto Slipher of Lowell Observatory was the first astronomer to observe andanalyse the spectra of galaxies. He observed spiral galaxies moving away at speeds of 5,700 km/s.Stars and galaxies are made up mainly of hydrogen, along with other, heavier elements. By analysing the spectrum of light from a certain star or galaxy, and comparingthe bands measured with the ordinary spectrum expected for light emitted from the samesource at rest, containing hydrogen, the shift in the frequency of the light can be found.Hydrogen normally has a wavelength of 21.11cm. Using the principles of the Doppler Effect, the following conclusions were made. If the shift is towards the red end of thelight spectrum, that source is moving away from us. If the shift is towards the blue end of the spectrum, then the source is moving towards us. The amount of shift in frequency of the light corresponds to the speed in which the source is moving away.The shift in the wavelength can be explained by the expansion of the universe. Asthe light travels, the universe is continuously expanding. As the universe expands, thewavelength of the beam of light becomes stretched. Therefore, galaxies that are close tous, have a small shift, because the beam will have been travelling for a small time, andthe expansion of the universe, will have a small effect on the shift. The emitted light of agalaxy that is further away will travel for longer, and therefore the universe, will haveexpanded more, during the beam’s travel time. This will give a large value for the redshift. Therefore the size of the red shift from a galaxy is equivalent to the amount theuniverse has expanded by, during the time the wave has travelled for.Henrick Oblers proposed that, if the universe is infinite, then the sky would beinfinitely bright, due to the homogeneity of the distribution of stars (as we live in ahomogeneous universe). In reality, the night sky is not in finitely bright. We can only seea limited amount of stars and galaxies. This can be explained by the red shift principle.Some distance stars and galaxies may be so far away, that their wavelengths have beenshifted so much, that they are now at a frequency that is not in the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum. Given the age of the universe, some of the light in thefarthest reached of the universe may not have had time yet to travel to us. ThereforeObler’s Paradox can be explained through the Doppler Effect and the Cosmological RedShift.Edwin Hubble was the first to demonstrate that there was a relation between thered shift of the light coming from galaxies, and their distance from us. Edwin Hubble andMilton Humason were the first to propose that this is a linear relationship, and is given bythe equation:V = H
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