Looking Back In Time to the Big Bang Theory

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Looking Back In Time to the Big Bang Theory

Student Task Sheet 1

Looking Back In Time

The Big Bang theory says that the universe started out as a tiny point of concentrated energy about 13.5 billion years ago. The energy expanded and the universe has been expanding from this point ever since. Astronomers use telescopes to look at distant galaxies and the spectra of light from stars to look for evidence for the Big Bang theory. Astronomers have observed that almost all of the galaxies are moving away from each other.

This diagram shows the universe expanding.

The larger the arrow, the faster the galaxy is moving.

  1. What is a galaxy?

  1. Which galaxies are moving the fastest?

  1. The Doppler Effect: Draw in a series of diagrams in the 4 boxes which show how light can appear to be blue shifted and red shifted. You can use a maximum of 8 words in the whole comic strip.





  1. This is the spectrum of light from a star. The star contains helium. The helium causes black lines in the spectrum, where the helium has absorbed light.

This is the spectrum of light from a star that is further away.

  1. What do you notice about the black lines in the second spectrum?

  1. W

    hat is this effect called?

  1. This spectrum is from a star that is even further away. Draw on the spectrum where you would expect the lines to be.

  1. What causes the black lines to move?

  1. Do you think that this evidence supports or opposes the Big Bang theory?

Student Task Sheet 2

Evidence for the Big Bang theory

Almost all scientists say that the Big Bang theory is the correct theory about the beginning of the universe, but some people do not accept that this happened.
Which of the following statements support the Big Bang theory?

(You may need to research some of these)

  • The universe began as an expansion from a single point and has been expanding ever since.

  • Astronomers have observed galaxies moving away from our galaxy.

  • The light from distant galaxies is red-shifted.

  • The light from galaxies that are further away is more red-shifted.

  • Our universe is one of a number of universes that first expand then contract again.

  • Cosmic microwave background radiation predicted by the big bang theory has been detected using radio telescopes.

  1. Write a description of the Big Bang theory and list the evidence to support it.

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