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The Doppler Effect

Light is an electromagnetic wave

o Light consists of fluctuations in the electromagnetic field.
o The wavelength (or distance from one wave crest to the next wave
crest) of light is extremely small for visible light it ranges from
four to seven ten millionths of a metre (400nm 700nm).
o The frequency is very high measured in millions of Hertz.
o Red light has a low frequency compared to blue light.
The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Effect
Imagine a source of light at a constant distance from us, emitting
waves of light at a constant wavelength.
o The wavelength of the waves we receive will be the same
constant wavelength at which they are emitted by the source.
Suppose now that the source starts moving directly away from us.
o When the source emits the next wave crest, it will be further
from us, so the distance we will see between the two wave
crests arriving will appear to be larger than when the star was
o This means that the wavelength of the waves we receive will
be longer (or shifted toward the red end of the spectrum) than
when the source was not moving.
All stars show redshift
Therefore, they are moving
( towards / away from )
the point of observation
away from

Hubbles Law


Deduce a formula to calculate the distance to
a star
Edwin Hubble Christian Doppler
Deduce a formula to calculate the distance to
a star





The Big Bang
Balloon Demo
o Light from celestial objects is red-shifted.
o Most of them are moving away from us
o This is not true of all celestial objects - the Andromeda galaxy is blue-shifted
o It is moving towards us due to the gravitational attraction of the Milky Way
o Some galaxies are partly red-shifted, and partly blue-shifted.
o This is due to their rotation - some parts of the galaxy are rotating towards us, while others
are rotating away from us.
o The majority of celestial objects are moving away from us though. If we
extrapolate backwards, we find that the universe must have started at a
single point.
o HOWEVER, we are assuming that:
o the universe has always expanded
o movement alone can cause redshift.
Evidence for the Big Bang
o In fact, other factors can cause redshift:
o Quantum Doppler Redshift results from the relative motion of the light
emitting object and the observer at speeds comparable to the speed of
light. A relativistic Doppler formula is required when v c.
o Cosmological Redshift is caused by the expansion of space. The
wavelength of light increases as it traverses the expanding universe
between its point of emission and its point of detection by the same
amount that space has expanded during the crossing time.
o Gravitational Redshift is a shift in the frequency of a photon to lower
energy as it climbs out of a gravitational field.

Evidence for the Big Bang

Red shift provides evidence for a Big Bang,
but does prove it.
Evidence for the Big Bang
1. Measure wavelength of light (from the galaxy).
2. Compare it to the wavelength for a source on the Earth.
3. Reference to spectral line or line spectrum.
4. Reference to the Doppler effect / redshift.