The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Full Steam Ahead: Episode sixThursday, 25th August 2016 20:00 - BBC TwoThe final episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at how more free time and rail transport allowed Victorians to travel... Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode six
Life Story: First stepsAvailable until Sunday, 25th September 2016 00:50Each generation's greatest challenge - to ensure the next generation thrives. Read more: Life Story: First steps
Jorge Luis Borges: A short reading list"My father's library has been the chief event in my life...the truth is that I have never emerged... Read more: Jorge Luis Borges: A short reading list
Full Steam AheadIt’s Full Steam Ahead for historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn as they bring... Read more: Full Steam Ahead
Internet of everythingThe internet of everything (IoE) is the networked connection of people, process, data and things.... Try: Internet of everything now
An introduction to music theoryGain an understanding of the basic building blocks of musical theory and notation. This free... Try: An introduction to music theory now
This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.' (T.S. Eliot) But how about the way the world begins? Was this the biggest bang of all? This free course will introduce you to the theory of the Big Bang and will present the three main lines of experimental evidence that support this theory.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- describe the characteristics of light emitted by stars, and hence the information of cosmological interest that can be deduced from it
- distinguish between true and false statements relevant to the distribution and motion of stars within galaxies, and of galaxies within clusters and superclusters
- outline the methods used for estimating the distances to stars and to galaxies
- explain and apply Hubble’s law
- distinguish between various sources of redshift and estimate their relative importance in a given situation.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introducing cosmology
- 2 Radiation from the galaxies
- 3 Distances of galaxies
- 4 The variation of redshift with distance
- 5 The microwave background radiation
- 6 The angular distribution of the 3 K radiation
- 6.1 Basic isotropy
- 6.2 The effect of the motion of the Earth
- 6.3 Anisotropies in the Universe itself
- 7 The primordial nuclear abundances
- 8 Conclusion
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
The Big Bang
In this course, we present the three main lines of experimental evidence pointing to the big bang origin of the Universe: (i) the recession of the galaxies; (ii) the microwave remnant of the early fireball; and (iii) the comparison between the calculated primordial nuclear abundances and the present-day composition of matter in the Universe.
A data sheet of useful information is provided as a pdf for your use. You may wish to print out a copy to keep handy as you progress through the course.
Click to open the course data sheet.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in Science.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Physics and Astronomy courses or view the range of currently available OU Physics and Astronomy courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (3.7 MB)
- PDF (1.9 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (3.1 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (3.1 MB)
- Kindle (1.2 MB)
- RSS (465 KB)
- HTML (3 MB)
- SCORM (3 MB)
- OUXML Package (56 KB)
- OUXML File (200 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.