Measuring Distances in Astronomy

Measuring Distances in Astronomy

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) Relic of the Big Bang (afterglow of initial fireball) predicted in late 1940s Discovered by Penzias & Wilson in 1965 they won the Nobel Prize for this discovery CMBR studied in detail by satellites (COBE, WMAP) Radiation comes from era of decoupling of matter and radiation in the early Universe (~300,000 years old) when neutral H atoms first formed

1 Observations of the CMBR CMBR very smooth photons from different directions have the same properties Earths motion with respect to the CMBR is detectable one half of sky hotter by one part in 1000 Satellite observations detected tiny fluctuations in CMBR (1 part in 100,000) that represent seeds of density fluctuations from which galaxies arose

2 Major Epochs in the Early Universe t<3x105 years: Universe radiation dominated t>3x105 years: Universe matter dominated Why? Let R be the scale length of the Universe (the separation between your favorite pair of galaxies, say). Energy density of matter 1/RR3 since volume R3 Energy density of radiation 1/RR4 since stretched out R. By Wien's Law, T decreases as 1/RR, and by the

blackbody eqn. energy density decreases as T4 1/RR4 3 Unification of Forces All four fundamental forces of Nature unified at t<10-43 s, the Planck time. Gravity `froze' out separate from the other three forces at this time. Next the strong nuclear force froze out at t=10-35 s Weak and electromagnetic forces unified until t=10-12 s

Electroweak unification confirmed in the laboratory during the 1980s at CERN particle accelerator in Europe. 4 5 Baryon Asymmetry Extremely hot radiation in the few seconds after the Big Bang Very energetic photons continuous interchange of radiation into matter and vice versa (via pair production and pair

annihilation). Observable Universe is made up of mostly matter (as opposed to anti-matter) Implies a slight asymmetry between matter and anti-matter in the very early Universe (a little more matter than antimatter) This is referred to as the `baryon asymmetry' of the Universe 6 Confinement and Recombination Quarks are the basic particles that protons and neutrons are thought to be composed of.

t=10-6 sec (T=1013 K), quarks were able to combine to form protons and neutrons the epoch of confinement. After t= 3x105 years the temperature dropped to T=3000 K Protons and electrons (and neutrons) were able to combine to form neutral atoms. Matter and radiation practically ceased to interact with each other (i.e., the Universe became transparent to radiation CMBR). The epoch of decoupling of matter and radiation or the epoch of recombination. 7

8 Big Bang Nucleosynthesis Almost all the hydrogen we see in the present Universe was formed at the epoch of recombination Most of the light elements (helium, deuterium, lithium, etc.) were formed shortly thereafter The efficiency with which these light elements were formed depends on what the density of protons and neutrons was (baryonic matter). Studying the abundance of light elements (relative to hydrogen) is

a good way of determining the baryon content of the Universe. There is a fairly strong indication that most of the matter in the Universe is non-baryonic, in addition to being non-luminous. 9 The CMBR Horizon Problem The CMBR has the same properties in all directions. Consider two portions of the Universe from opposite ends of the sky. These two portions are within our observable Universe (horizon), but they are outside each other's horizons.

Light has not yet had time to travel from one of these portions to the other. If they have never been in communication, how do they know to be at the same temperature? 10 Inflation Very early phase of extremely rapid expansion (Guth, Linde, 1980s). During this inflationary phase, the Universe expands by a factor of 1050 in the time span t= 10-35 sec to t= 10-24 sec.

Inflationary phase is immediately after the epoch at which the strong nuclear force froze out, and before the weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force froze apart from each other. All of our observable Universe was an infinitesimally small volume 1050x1050x1050= 10150 times smaller than we would have guessed from a simple extrapolation of the expansion we observe today. 11 Solving the Horizon Problem

Two parts of the Universe on opposite sides of the sky now outside each other's horizons. Prior to inflationary epoch, these two patches would have been within each other's horizons and therefore `known' to acquire the same temperature.

Inflation caused them to expand out of each other's horizon. Inflation requires the universe to expand faster than the speed of light. Does not violate relativity STR only applies in flat spacetime (i.e., in weak gravitational fields).

Special relativity is a special case of General relativity; inflation does obey the equations of General relativity. 12 Inflation, continued Why is the density of the present Universe so close to critical (or why is the geometry of the observable Universe so close to flat)?

The scale of the observable Universe is much smaller than its `radius of curvature'. What causes the rapid expansion during the inflationary era? Inflation may be thought of as a phase transition in the Universe (as in a transition from a liquid to solid phase). The `latent heat' in this phase transition builds up into an extremely high vacuum energy density, and this drives the expansion (analogous to the repulsive effect of Einstein's cosmological constant ). 13

Solar system: 9 light hours diameter 14 Spiral galaxy: 80,000 light years diameter 15 Coma cluster of galaxies: 2.5 million light years across 16

Survey of distant galaxies: 5 to 9 billion light-years away 17 Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (after-glow from the Big Bang) - edge of the observable Universe: 14 billion light years away 18 The Detailed Structure of a Spiral Galaxy

19 Introduction to Galaxies Basic Structure How densely packed are stars in a galaxy? Size (diameter) of a typical star: 106 km Distance between stars: 1 pc = 3 x 1013 km km! Analogy: 1 cm sized marbles separated by 300

What fills in the space between stars? Interstellar medium: gas, dust 20 Disk Galaxies: Structural Components Flattened differentially-rotating disk Dense centrally-concentrated bulge with mostly disordered orbits Extended, not centrally concentrated, mostly dark halo Bulge + Halo = Spheroid

21 22 Spiral Galaxy Properties Bulge stars are older on average than disk stars Youngest disk stars lie in very thin plane Older disk stars lie in a thicker disk Disk stars, particularly young ones, are organized into spiral arms

Spiral density waves in the disk: the most successful explanation of spiral structure 23 Globular Clusters 24 Globular Clusters

Most galaxies, including our own, contain dense clusters of 10 3 106 stars known as globular clusters The observed distribution of globular clusters tells us that the Sun is NOT at the center of the

Milky Way galaxy 25 Galaxy Types Spirals & irregulars (disk galaxies); ellipticals

Morphological (structural) features: Disk, bulge, bulge+disk, presence/Rabsence of central bar Nature of kinematics (internal motion of stars and gas): Coherent rotation of stars and gas in a disk; differential rotation

Random motion of stars in the bulge of a spiral galaxy or elliptical 26 27 Hubble Sequence of Galaxies Tuning fork diagram: E0-E7, S0 Sa-Sd /R SBa-SBd, Irr

Morphological trends along the sequence: Shape (flattening) Bulge-to-disk ratio Spiral arms Kinematical trends along the sequence: Ellipticals: mostly random motion, hardly any rotation Spirals: mostly rotation, hardly any random motion Trends in the stellar mix: Ellipticals: mostly cool (old) stars Spirals: dominated by hot (young) stars

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