“G—Great Galaxy Seeds
After finding the predicted expanding universe and radiation afterglow, scientists turned their attention to another prediction that would confirm the Big Bang. If the Big Bang actually occurred, scientists believed that we should see slight variations (or ripples) in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation that Penzias and Wilson had discovered. These temperature ripples enabled matter to congregate by gravitational attraction into galaxies. If found, they would comprise the fourth line of scientific evidence that the universe had a beginning.
In 1989 the search for these ripples was intensified when NASA launched the $200 million satellite aptly called COBE for Cosmic Background Explorer. Carrying extremely sensitive instruments, COBE was able to see whether or not these ripples actually existed in the background radiation and how precise they were.
When the project leader, astronomer George Smoot, announced COBE’s findings in 1992, his shocking characterization was quoted in newspapers all over the world. He said, “If you’re religious, it’s “like looking at God.” University of Chicago astrophysicist Michael Turner was no less enthusiastic, claiming, “The significance of this [discovery] cannot be overstated. They have found the Holy Grail of Cosmology.” Cambridge astronomer Stephen Hawking also agreed, calling the findings “the most important discovery of the century, if not of all time.”14 What did COBE find to merit such momentous descriptions?
COBE not only found the ripples, but scientists were amazed at their precision. The ripples show that the explosion and expansion of the universe was precisely tweaked to cause just enough matter to congregate to allow galaxy formation, but not enough to cause the universe to collapse back on itself. Any slight variation one way or the other, and none of us would be here to tell about it. In fact, the ripples are so exact (down to one part in one hundred thousand) that Smoot called them the “machining marks from the creation of the universe” and the “fingerprints of the maker.”15
But these temperature ripples are not just dots on a scientist’s graph somewhere. COBE actually took infrared pictures of the ripples. Now keep in mind that space observations are actually observations of the past because of the long time it takes light from distant objects to reach us. So COBE’s pictures are actually pictures of the past. That is, the infrared pictures taken by COBE point to the existence of matter from the very early universe that would ultimately form into galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Smoot called this matter “seeds” of the galaxies as they exist today (these pictures can be seen at COBE’s website, http://Lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov). These “seeds” are the largest structures ever detected, with the biggest extending across one-third of the known universe. That’s 10 billion light years or 60 billion trillion (60 followed by 21 zeros) miles.16
Now you can see why some scientists were so grandiose in their description of the discovery. Something predicted by the Big Bang was again found, and that something was so big and so precise that it made a big bang with scientists!”
Excerpt From: Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” Crossway Books. iBooks.
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