You don't need an extensive education in astrophysics to guess what the Big Bang looked like. It's called the freaking Big Bang. It must have been some kind of big ass explosion, right? Hell, even Carl Sagan agrees--after all, that's how he shows it in one of his highly respected documentaries.
"Our Universe began with the mightiest explosion of all time."
- Actual quote from actual Documentary
Since nobody was around to observe it, there is still debate surrounding the exact details of the origins of the cosmos, but it most certainly did not look like an explosion as presented in the above freeze-frame. There are some who say the origin of the universe came in a moment of extremely rapid matter expansion, aka the "Big Bang Theory." But the other, most common, camp is the "steady state" theory, wherein the universe has been expanding at the same rate since day one, and continues to expand at the same pace even now. Either way, though, both sides agree there was no "explosion." Instead the universe expanded like a balloon full of dark matter and other cool sci-fi sounding sciencey stuff.
The main argument between the groups of physicists is basically how fast the balloon inflated, not whether the balloon inflated or exploded in a ball of fire.
Why We Picture it Wrong:
The whole problem comes back to that really misleading name. So, what kind of jerk would come up with the name "Big Bang" if they were a smart enough scientist to know it was more of a "gradual swelling"?
Turns out it was one more opposed to the idea of a Big Bang than most. Fred Hoyle was an astrophysicist firmly on the "steady state" side of the great debate of the birth of life, the universe, and everything. He came up with the phrase "Big Bang" as a way to simply explain the viewpoint he disagreed with, intending people to hear the name and think the idea of a giant explosion giving birth to existence was ridiculous.
This was a gross misjudgment of human nature. As soon as he suggested there was a huge explosion at the birth of the universe, we latched onto that idea and never let it go. Hoyle simply failed to grasp how profoundly our species loves big-ass explosions.
When not ruining dinosaurs for everybody else, Alexander L. Hoffman writes sketchy comedy for First, The TRANYA! and Ritchie Redd. You can contact Alexander here.
Find out what other lies you've been tricked into believing, in 6 Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes and 6 Subtle Ways The News Media Disguises Bullshit As Fact.