Frank Rubin
February 17, 2000

Abstract This paper presents a new theory of the universe which updates the Big Bang Theory, and explains more of the phenomena that have been observed over the past 120 years.
       Since this paper was first posted on this website the first results of the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and the XMM-Newton Observatory have been made public. These results dramatically confirm many of the key assumptions and conclusions of the new theory.


       Since the 1880's, scientists have observed that light coming from distant stars has a red shift, indicating that those stars are moving away from us at high speeds. In the 1920's Belgian astronomer Georges LeMaître proposed the theory that the universe was created by a huge explosion, and that all the matter in the universe is still flying away from that explosion at enormous speeds. This idea was dubbed the Big Bang Theory by George Gamow circa 1930.
       The Big Bang Theory explains why stars in every direction show this red shift. The theory assumed that the Earth is located close to the gravitational center of the universe, which is the presumed site of the Big Bang. So objects speeding away from that explosion will also be speeding away from Earth at roughly the same speed in all directions.
       There are, however, several things that the Big Bang Theory does not explain, such as the distribution of matter in the universe, pulsars, the apparent lack of anti-matter, the lack of sufficient mass to hold galaxies together, the seeming acceleration in the rate the universe is expanding, and the discovery of objects that are apparently older than the Big Bang. The purpose of the paper is to present a more comprehensive theory of the universe which explains all of these observations.


       The Big Bang Theory holds that everything in the universe, stars, galaxies, radiation, interstellar gas, everything was created in one huge explosion. Since that time all of the matter in the universe is hurtling outward at speeds that increase with the distance from the site of the explosion, and which approach the speed of light for the most distant objects.
       There are several versions of the Big Bang Theory, but in its purest form, all the matter and energy in the universe suddenly sprang into existence at some point estimated to be about 13.7 billion years ago. This matter and energy instantaneously came into being, forming a mass no bigger than a proton. Prior to that instant, nothing existed, no matter, no energy, not even empty space or time itself.
       The Big Bang Theory explains the red shift, and also some of the background radiation that has been observed. But it explains little else. In particular, it fails to explain why the matter in the universe is distributed so unevenly.


       The new Many Bang Theory holds that explosions on all scales occur continually. Under the influence of gravity, matter collects at many points throughout the universe, and explodes when certain triggering events occur. Such events may be collisions with other objects, or reaching certain densities where state changes occur. The Big Bang is just one of many explosions. Simply because it happened relatively close to us, people tend to think it was the single great formative event of all matter and energy.
       Under this new theory, the universe has always existed, and space extends outward forever. Matter is distributed throughout the universe, far beyond what we can now observe. Matter condenses under the force of gravity to form all of the structures that have been observed, from stars, to galaxies, to vast filaments containing billions of galaxies. There is a continuum from diffuse gas clouds which coalesce into stars which collapse, blowing off their outer layers and leaving dense neutron stars, which continue to collect matter, becoming black holes.
       There is a continuum of masses, from gas to dust, rocks, planets, stars, up to supermassive black holes. These objects change state as they coalesce under the influence of gravity. For example, when a planet becomes large and dense enough, it may heat up and change from a solid to a liquid sate, and then to a gaseous state. If these changes are sudden the result may be an explosion.


       The newest telescopes have allowed us to glimpse galactic clusters more than 13 billion light years from earth. The apparent distance of such objects is one of the primary indicators of the age of the universe. The universe must be at least as old as the amount of time it took light from these objects to reach us.
       Objects that are very far away are receding from us at extremely high speeds. This causes the light from the objects to shift in wavelength. Light of a given wavelength will appear stretched out, that is, the wavelength will be longer. This lengthening is called the Doppler effect, or the red shift, since red has the longest wavelength of any visible light. We know that certain chemical elements, such as hydrogen, emit light with known frequencies. We also know the general composition of stars, primarily hydrogen and helium. Thus we can compare these known frequencies against the observed light. The faster the object is moving away, the greater this lengthening becomes. This tells us the speed of the object, and the speed tells us the distance.
       Each time an extemely distant object is sighted, we need to revise the age of the universe upwards. For example, suppose we observe a galactic cluster 13 billion light years away, and receding at a speed of 0.75 times the speed of light. If that object had been created by the Big Bang, then we know that the object took a bit over 17 billion years to reach that position, so the universe must be at least 17 billion years old.
       However, since the light from that object took 13 billion years to reach us, we know that 13 billion years ago the object was 13 billion light-years away, hence 17 billion years old, so it is now 30 billion years old.
       There is a widespread theory that tries to explain away these very old objects by saying that, since the object is moving away at ¾ the speed of light, the light coming towards us is only traveling at ¼ the speed of light, and so the object is only ¼ as far away as it appears.
       This theory ignores the results of the famous Michelson-Morley experiments, which are some of the major underpinnings of relativity. Michelson and Morley discovered that light always travels at the same speed, regardless of the speed of the source or the speed of the observer. The absurdity becomes even more apparent if you imagine an object so far away that its speed of recession is 99% the speed of light. Under this theory, that object would then be considered to be only 1% as distant as it appears, hence only 1/25 as far away as an object whose speed is ¾ the speed of light.
       There seems to be no limit to the process of discovery. Every time a new stronger telescope is deployed we find more distant objects than ever before, and the size and age of the universe need to be revised upwards.


       Recently, radiation that is consistent with a Big Bang about 13 billion years ago was detected. This is strong direct evidence for the Big Bang. Nonetheless, there appear to be objects in the universe that must be older than the Big Bang. We need to find a framework that accommodates both evidence.
       There are two theories that can account for both the Big Bang and older objects. The first is the Oscillating Universe theory, namely that the universe periodically expands, then contracts, and explodes again. This would mean that objects older than the Big Bang could have arisen from earlier bangs. The second is the Many Bang theory, namely that the Big Bang is just one of many explosions at many sites, and the objects could have originated at any of many different sites and times.
       Under the oscillating theory, all of the bangs would have occurred at the gravitational center of the universe, at roughly even intervals of several billion years. The Many Bang theory allows for bangs at widely spaced locations with irregular timing, but does not preclude multiple explosions at the same site.
       Let us imagine for a moment what took place at the time of the Big Bang. Matter was flung outward in every direction, with varying degrees of force, depending on where in the explosion's nucleus it originated. This means that matter would be spewed out at a wide range of speeds. Objects near Earth have very little shift in their light, and therefore are moving slowly (or, rather, are moving away from the center at close to our own speed). Objects extremely distant from Earth have been observed speeding away at more than three-quarters the speed of light.
       Now, suppose that there is sufficient mass in the universe to pull all of that matter back to the center, in order to form the nucleus of another big bang. Matter would reach the center at different times, depending on how far away it was, and how fast it had been speeding away.


       If it were necessary for all of the matter in the universe to be gathered in one spot in order to cause the next bang, then we would have a pure oscillating universe, called a steady-state universe, with the bangs almost evenly spaced, and of about the same intensity each time.
       A steady-state universe can be pretty much dismissed out of hand. No matter how much matter there is in the universe, and how strong its gravitational pull, there is some velocity, called the escape velocity, beyond which an object could never be pulled back. Some of the matter in any explosion comparable to the big bang is certain to be ejected faster than this escape velocity, no matter how high that velocity may be. That means that each bang would be smaller than the last one.
       Actually, the steady-state oscillating universe is just a special case of the many bang universe. It requires many bangs, but all the big ones occur at the same place. As we have just seen, this particular case is unlikely.


       Stars periodically explode. The explosions are called supernovas, and many have been observed. The brightest are visible to the naked eye, and a few have even been visible in daylight. The remains of these explosions are called nebulas, and some can be seen with relatively low-powered home telescopes. Some of the best-known are the Orion Nebula, the Crab Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula.
       A much bigger explosion, dubbed a hypernova, was detected all around the globe in Dec. 1997. This 2-second burst of gamma radiation was described as being as bright as the entire rest of the universe. Simple logic suggests that such explosions probably occur between once every 10 years, and once every 1000 years. (If they were more frequent than every 10 years we would have seen more than one; if less often than every 1000 years there is little chance that we would have seen any in the mere 40 years that we have been capable of detecting them.)
       The key point here is that explosions of differing sizes occur, so that the amount of matter needed to trigger one cannot be fixed, and must be far less than the total matter in the universe, or even the total matter in a single galaxy.
       OK, so there have been many explosions of various sizes at numerous places. Can we extrapolate that to say that there have been many big bangs? If the most distant objects that we can see originated from some big bang, and if they are older than our Big Bang, then we can certainly conclude that there have been at least 2 big bangs. (This does not mean that the other bang occurred at the same place as the first one, though, so this does not support the steady-state universe theory.)
       Since we have no estimated date for the previous big bang, and since we can't see anything whose origin seems to be much more than twice the 13 billion years since our Big Bang, the existence of these older objects is not adequate evidence for more than two. (Note that the preceding big bang would probably have occurred considerably more than 13 billion years before the most recent one. Since most of the matter from the last bang is still heading outward, and most of the matter is traveling slower than the escape velocity, that means that for most objects 13 billion years is less than the halfway point when gravity starts pulling it back.)


       There is additional strong evidence for the Many Bang theory. This evidence comes from the distribution of matter in the universe. Two aspects of this distribution favor the Many Bang Theory. First, much of the matter we can see appears to be concentrated in spherical shells, or bubbles. This distribution is precisely what would be expected from many bangs. Second, the very unevenness of the distribution can best be explained by the Many Bang Theory.
       Each time any bang occurs, matter is spewn out in every direction. Over time, gravity pulls it back towards the point of the explosion. Matter ejected relatively slowly, which therefore remained close to the explosion site would have been pulled back long ago. Matter ejected rapidly, and thus further away, will have been slowed less. Some of it will still be moving away, while some will have begun to fall back towards the gravitational center.
       There is a roughly spherical front where material ejected from the explosion will have slowed to zero velocity. Matter beyond the front will still be moving outward. The further from the front, the faster it will be moving. Matter within the front will be falling back towards the center. The closer to the center, the faster it will be moving. Matter close to the front will be moving slowly, either inward or outward. Thus, in the region of the front, matter will be densest. Matter much further out will be moving much faster, and therefore will be sparse.


       The uneven distribution of matter in the universe is sometimes described as "lumpiness." The Big Bang Theory has great difficulty accounting for such lumpiness. If the big bang originated in a tiny homogeneous speck of matter, then the universe should be similarly homogeneous. Gravity alone cannot account for all the clumping and clustering that we observe.
       Under the Many Bang Theory, the nucleus for each explosion is built up from many objects, such as stars, gas clouds, perhaps entire galaxies, that are captured by gravity. As these objects are gathered, it takes time for them to be absorbed and converted into the superdense state of the nucleus. Eventually, gravity would return the nucleus to a perfectly spherical shape (or, perhaps ovoid, if it is spinning rapidly) and symmetric distribution, but such extremely dense matter may flow very slowly, so that the nucleus is always in a lumpy unbalanced state.
       When the explosion occurs, the unevenness of the distribution will result in uneven spreading of the force, and an uneven distribution of the resulting matter. After that, gravity will form the remnants into the various disks, strings and clusters that we observe.


       Another phenomenon that gives credence to the Many Bang theory is pulsars. These are objects that give off pulses of light at regular intervals. The conventional explanation of pulsars is that they are neutron stars spinning rapidly and giving off a pulse of energy on each rotation, typically a few milliseconds up to a few days. However, there is a big hole in this theory.
       The problem is, why does the neutron star radiate energy in only one direction, like a turning lighthouse beacon? If a neutron star were a homogeneous spheroid of neutrons, then any distribution of charge within the neutron star should be symmetric around its axis of rotation, and therefore its electromagnetic field also should be symmetric around the axis of rotation. There is no reason to assume that it has some "energy geyser" on its surface that spews out a plume of radiation. After all, the earth has a magnetic field, yet no satellite has ever detected any such earthly pulses.
       The Many Bang theory offers several much better explanation for pulsars. Over the past few decades thousands of objects called "black holes" have been detected. These are objects so extremely dense and massive that their gravity prevents anything, even light or other electromagnetic radiation from escaping. Although black holes do not emit light, an object being captured by a black hole may be ripped apart by its gravity, and therefore give off bursts of radiation. Many such bursts have been detected, so we know that black holes must be very numerous. (The latest estimate is that there at least 300 billion.) It is theorized that there is a massive black hole near the center of every galaxy, but black holes have also been detected far from the galactic centers.
       Black holes are formed by gravity pulling together a great deal of matter at a single point. Once a dense center forms, the capture of matter accelerates as the gravity increases. Both black holes and neutron stars continually capture matter through their gravity. When a large object is being sucked in, it may plunge straight in, or it may spiral in, depending on its motion before capture. When such an object spirals in, the gravity of the nucleus (ie., black hole or neutron star) will rip it apart. Also, as its speed increases, relativistic forces will compact the object in the direction of its travel.
       These processes may result in a continuous release of radiation. Much of this radiation will also be captured by the nucleus but some radiation released in a radial direction away from the center will escape. When that direction is pointing towards the earth, we can detect it. So, each time the object reaches the point in its orbit where the escaping radiation points towards earth, we see a burst or flash.
       The process could continue even after the object has been captured. It may take time for the matter in the captured object to be compressed into the superdense form of a neutron star or black hole, and then to disperse into the core of the nucleus. While this is happening there may be a lump on or just below the surface of the nucleus where the object's atoms are being compressed down to pure neutrons or denser forms and this process may radiate a huge amount of energy. Even if the capturing object is a black hole, for a time part of the captured object could remain outside the event horizon, allowing radiation to escape.
       This would also explain why some pulsars flash with two distict periods. They are capturing two objects simultaneously, one closer with a fast period, and one further out with a slower period. Or, one on the surface of the pulsar being absorbed, and the other still in orbit. By chance, it happens that points in both orbits are aimed towards earth. Eventually, I predict, we will detect pulsars with 3 or more distinct periods of flashing.
       This means that pulsars are probably much more numerous than we now imagine, but we cannot detect most of them because either they are not currently capturing a large enough object, or the orbits of the objects being captured never point towards earth. Consequently, neutron stars and black holes are undoubtedly far more numerous than the ones we have so far observed.
       Since the objects captured by neutron stars or black holes vary in size and composition, and since it may take a good deal of time for such a dense object as a neutron star or black hole to flow back into a symmetric form, they may be irregular and heterogeneous most of the time.


       If the Many Bang Theory were true, then we would expect a continuous range of very dense objects, from neutron stars about as heavy as our sun to black holes as massive as a galaxy. The Chandra X-ray Observatory has now confirmed this. It has detected a class of mid-sized black holes, between the small black holes formed from collapsed stars, weighing only a dozen times our sun, and the super-massive black holes at the centers of galaxies, weighing millions of times the sun's weight.


       The question naturally arises, what causes extremely dense objects like black holes to explode? One likely cause is that the exposions occur when there is a change in the object's physical state. Atoms are composed of positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons at their centers, with negatively charged electrons orbiting outside. When a neutron star forms, the immense gravity crushes down the atoms so that the electrons and protons combine, canceling their electrical charges, and becoming neutrons. When the density increased further, the neutrons themselves are crushed into a denser form, and individual particles cease to exist.
       Both of the processes just described are changes in the state of the object. Both are accompanied by large releases of energy. A proton and electron together have slightly more mass than a neutron, so when they combine there is a loss of mass that creates an equivalent amount of energy. If these processes occur quickly throughout an object, then an explosion is likely. If they occur slowly, or only locally, then an explosion is unlikely.
       The difference is probably in how they capture objects and increase their mass. If it happens slowly, such as pulling in gas from a diffuse cloud, then probably there will be no sudden state change and no explosion. If it happens rapidly, such as a star being captures all at once, there may be an immediate state change, with consequent explosion. This means that there is no specific triggering mass, and that objects of widely different masses may explode with differing force.


       There are several consequences of the Many Bang theory that need to be considered. The first is the relationship between red shift and the age and distance of various objects. The current equation relating red shift and distance is based on the premise that all such objects arose from a single Big Bang at the gravitational center of the observable universe. Since Earth is fairly close to the center, distance from Earth and distance from the center are close enough to consider the same for this purpose.

       If an object arose from a different bang, at a location far from the center, however, this approximation would not hold. An object with a small red shift could actually be very far away because it originated from an explosion far away.

       In most cases, this is not a problem. If we are talking about a local explosion of matter that orginated from one of the big bangs, then the bits of material produced would be too small to see individually, while the whole mass that produced the explosion would still be moving away at the same velocity it had prior to exploding. This is a simple consequence of conservation of momentum. Most of the very distant objects we can detect must be primary products of a big bang, not the smaller secondary products. On the other hand, if we mean an object produced by another very distant big bang, it is probably still too far away to see yet.


       If there have been many bangs at many locations, it is possible that some of them are comparable in size, or even much larger, than our own local Big Bang. This means that there may be other clusters of matter even bigger than what we currently call the universe. Although we could not expect to see individual galaxies, or even galactic clusters, within such a distant object, we might be able to see the entire object. An object of that size could rightfully be called another universe.

       It is possible that we have already seen such universes, but have not recognized them because they do not exhibit a large red shift. Indeed, the portion of such a universe nearest us may be approaching at a high speed due to its own big bang. The object would then have the opposite of a red shift, called a purple or violet shift. We would interpret such an object as being small and nearby, rather than huge and vastly distant.

       This opens the door to the likelihood that space is filled with matter, rather than the prevailing assumption that all matter is fairly local because it was created by a single Big Bang, and therefore could not have traveled more than 13 billion light-years. Such a cosmos could be permanent rather than having a limited age. In other words, there is no beginning of the universe, and likewise no beginning of time.


       One of the most fundamental laws of physics is that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. If you assume all of the matter in the universe came from from a single Big Bang, then this presents a problem. How did the Big Bang create all of the matter that we observe? The traditional theory is that no matter was created, rather the Big Bang created exactly equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, so that the total amount of matter in the universe was 0 before the Big Bang, and is still 0. Nothing was created or destroyed.

       The difficulty with this theory is that we observe large amounts of matter, but very little anti-matter. The traditionalists maintain that the required amount of anti-matter is out there, we just don't know how to detect it. Or, they must assume that anti-matter somehow winks out of existence, or converts itself into matter over time.

       On the other hand, if we assume matter has always existed throughout the cosmos, then there is no such problem. There is no need to ask how matter came into existence; it was always here. There is no need to require a precise balance between matter and anti-matter. We can accept a universe with lots of matter and little anti-matter, if that should prove to be true, or the converse if our little corner should be atypical.


       An extension of the theory that the total matter in the universe is zero, is that the total energy in the universe is zero. Since neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed, the Big Bang theory needs to explain where all the energy of vast quantities of matter hurtling outwards originated. The conventional answer is that this kinetic energy is exactly balanced by the potential energy of this same matter, should it all be pulled back by gravity to the center. Thus the total energy in the universe would be zero.

       This is an inadequate explanation. Obviously all of this kinetic energy originated from the Big Bang. So, where did the energy for the Big Bang originate? It cannot be from the conversion of matter into energy, since there was no matter before the Big Bang.

       This problem does not occur in the Many Bang theory. In this view of the universe there has always been both matter and energy, and the conversion of one into the other can take place freely.


       One of the puzzles that has engaged astrophysicists lately is the problem of the missing mass. This problem occurs if you assume an oscillating universe. There must be enough mass to pull all the matter in the universe back to the center for the next bang. The amount of matter that we can currently detect is only about one-tenth enough to do this.

       Once again, the problem does not occur for the Many Bang theory. Bangs can occur anywhere that there is enough mass to pull together the nucleus for an explosion of any size. It is widely believed that every galaxy has a black hole at its center, and this has the potential to pull in the required material for another blast, of super-nova size or larger.

       It is worthwhile noting that when any of these bangs occur, some of the matter being ejected outward will collide with matter still being pulled inward by gravity. This will create secondary explosions, and the release of additional radiation. It will also stop some of the matter from hurtling outwards, and lead to the speedier formation of a new central nucleus at the same location.


       The universe is a far larger and more complex system than the Big Bang Theory predicts. Matter is distributed throughout the cosmos, and traveling in every direction. Red shift alone cannot determine the age and distance of every visible object.