Where was the Big Bang located? In which constellation? Should we observe more young galaxies in that direction and more old ones in the opposite direction?

This diagram shows changes in the rate of expansion since the Big Bang. The shallower the curve, the faster the expansion rate. There's a notable change in the curve around 7.5 billion years ago, when astronomers think a mysterious, dark force caused objects to fly apart at a faster rate. NASA/STSci/Ann Feild
This diagram shows the expansion of space over time..
NASA / STSci / Ann Feild

You've got the commonest misconception about the Big Bang: that it happened at some particular spot in preexisting empty space, like an exploding hand grenade with galaxies for shrapnel. Actually, the Big Bang gave birth not just to matter but to space itself. Space then expanded so the matter in space thinned out. In other words, the Big Bang happened right where you're sitting just as much as anywhere.

Here's the short, elevator-speech version: The Big Bang happened everywhere at once. And everywhere started small and grew big. Wrap your mind around that, and you've got it exactly.

— Alan MacRobert


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July 13, 2022 at 1:33 pm

So, when we're looking at an object 3 billion light years away we see the galaxies closer together and therefor visibly a greater density no matter where we point the telescope. It stretches my mind. When we are looking at a photo from, for example, the Webb telescope with a great distance/time depth, are we seeing objects (galaxies) or vastly differing ages? Is it true then that no matter where we look we are looking at the original singularity? No matter where we look we are looking at the same, infinitesimally small location?

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Monica Young

July 13, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Interesting question! So yes, the deep field is a good example of Webb seeing galaxies of vastly different ages because the galaxy cluster is closer than the background galaxies (the white and red galaxies, respectively). But we can only look back so far - we don't see all the way back to the Big Bang. The most distant galaxies in this image are still in a universe a couple hundred million years old.

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