Cosmic background radiation 2 | Scale of the universe | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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November 23, 2010
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Cosmic background radiation 2 | Scale of the universe | Cosmology & Astronomy | Khan Academy

TL;DR

As the universe continues to expand, the cosmic background radiation will change and become more red-shifted, eventually reaching a point where it can no longer be observed as electromagnetic radiation.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is cosmic background radiation?

Cosmic background radiation is the electromagnetic radiation that pervades throughout the universe and is a remnant of the early hot and dense state after the Big Bang.

Q: How will the cosmic background radiation change in the future?

The background radiation will become more red-shifted and have longer wavelengths as the universe expands. This means it will appear redder and eventually become undetectable as electromagnetic radiation.

Q: Will the cosmic background radiation disappear in a billion years?

While the cosmic background radiation from a particular point in space will no longer be uniform, we will still observe radiation from further out points in space, albeit with more red-shifted and longer wavelengths.

Q: Is there a limit to how far we can observe cosmic background radiation?

Yes, there is a threshold distance beyond which the light and radiation from those points in space will never reach us due to the expansion of the universe. At that point, we won't be able to observe any electromagnetic radiation.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • 380,000 years after the Big Bang, every point in space was emitting electromagnetic radiation at a 3,000 Kelvin temperature.

  • As the universe aged, stars and other structures formed, causing the cosmic background radiation to change and become more like the mature universe.

  • The universe will continue to expand, and the background radiation will become more red-shifted and have longer wavelengths until it is no longer observable as electromagnetic radiation.

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