Is the universe expanding? Will you explain the issue from the Islamic viewpoint?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1.1.4.The Universe is Expanding

In physics, in the "Doppler event", the sound waves coming from the whistle of a train approaching a station reach an observer in the station at a smaller wavelength. Contrary to this, the number of the soundwaves coming from the whistle of a train distancing from a station decreases in unit of time. This decrease means the decrease of the frequency and the increase of the wavelength. According to the experiments, the light had the same characteristics as the sound waves.

Doppler Effect: Doppler effect relationship between velocity and wavelength is an experience that we encounter every day. Listen to a plane passing over your head; the sound of the engine is heard at a higher pitch; and when it passes and disappears, the pitch of the hearing decreases. The reason for this is as follows: When the airplane moves toward you and when the next wave peak is released, it is closer to you and it reduces the distance between the wave peaks. Similarly, as the plane moves away, the wavelengths increase and the sound pitch we perceive falls.

Doppler event was also valid for light waves. Hubble was watching the rays coming from the galaxies at the telescope. Once, something strange caught his attention when he was examining the spectrum analyses of the light passing through the micro lens systems of the telescope. There was a shift toward red in the wavelengths of the light coming from the galaxies. Under normal circumstances, there should be no change in spectral colors and they should remain constant. Hubble began to think about the main reason for the shift toward red in spectral lines by taking into account the wavelengths. The red color represents the longest wavelength in the wavelength band "visible to the eye".

He wondered why the light from the galaxies was shifting toward red? Hubble soon established a connection between the shift toward red and the Doppler event. According to the Doppler event, the wavelength of the rays coming from a distancing light source got longer, and the lengthening wavelength represented red; so, there was only one explanation: the galaxies were moving away from us. The further galaxies were moving away from us faster. There could be only one interpretation of this distancing and escaping: the universe was expanding.

When the experts in charge of the world’s largest telescope built in Mount Palomar in the USA applied the Hubble law for those distances in 1950, the distancing speeds of the galaxies were calculated. This time, it was found out that galaxies were moving away at a speed of 100,000 kilometers per second.

A galaxy 10 million light years away from us distances from us at a speed of 250 kilometers per second while a galaxy 10 billion light years away was calculated to be distancing from us at a speed of 250,000 kilometers per second.

NGC 6946, which is similar to the Milky Way galaxy we live in, is seen from the front with its splendor. This galaxy is close to us, just “10 million light years” away. The stars of the Milky Way seem like a tulle in front of the galaxy. The Milky Way is just one of the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe of which we are a part. There are hundreds of billions of suns in it.

What expands in a large-scale universe model is space. The galaxies on the space "surface" seem to move away from one another, and the galaxies farther away seem to move even faster. We can liken it to the spots on an inflated balloon. As the balloon inflates, the spots will be separated from one another. According to a certain point, distant spots appear to distance more than those that are close to that point.

We witness that the fact that the galaxies move away from one another at an incredible speed was explained in the Quran centuries ago:

"With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of pace (We are expanding it).1

What would we see if we were to watch the space with extremely sharp eyes, in the depths of space, without any objects obstructing our vision? To take such a photograph, the Hubble Space Telescope focused on a single dark spot of space; the lights from that spot were “accumulated” for exactly ten days. Even the lights that were four billion times weaker than the stars that could be seen with the naked eye were snapped. And so many galaxies hidden in one dark spot of space became apparent. We should not forget that each of these galaxies contains hundreds of billions of stars! (NASA)

1adh-Dhariyat, 47.

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