60 Second Adventures in Astronomy Explains the Big Bang, Relativity & More with Fun Animation

Like many pos­i­tive terms, the phrase “big bang” orig­i­nat­ed as a pejo­ra­tive. Fred Hoyle coined the term in 1949 as a way of deflat­ing the con­cept of an expand­ing uni­verse. It stuck, even after Edwin Hub­ble showed that 13.7 bil­lion years ago, all of the mat­ter in our mas­sive uni­verse was indeed com­pact­ed into “one super­dense ball.” Astronomers have also fig­ured out that the vol­ume of the big bang was only 120 deci­bels, about the loud­ness of your aver­age rock show (though how there might have been sound with­out an atmos­phere escapes me). There is some irony in Hoyle’s dig: the “big bang” wasn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly big, and wasn’t much of a bang, but it hap­pened.

We learn all this and more in the video above from The Open Uni­ver­si­ty, and all with­in a minute, as the title of the series, 60 Sec­ond Adven­tures in Astron­o­mypromis­es. These amus­ing ani­ma­tions are very much like oth­er OU series we’ve fea­tured in the past: 60 Sec­ond Adven­tures in Eco­nom­ics60-Sec­ond Adven­tures in Eco­nom­ics: and 60 Sec­ond Adven­tures in Thought. (Find them all on iTune­sU here.)

The uni­ver­si­ty describes the new astron­o­my series like this:

Ever won­dered where the Uni­verse came from? Or more impor­tant­ly, where it’s head­ed? Voiced by David Mitchell, this series of twelve 60 sec­ond ani­ma­tions exam­ines dif­fer­ent sci­en­tif­ic con­cepts from the big bang to rel­a­tiv­i­ty, from black holes to dark mat­ter. The series also explores the pos­si­bil­i­ty of life beyond Earth and con­sid­ers why David Bowie is still none the wis­er about life on Mars.

Spend a few extra min­utes edu­cat­ing your­self with some more 60 sec­ond astron­o­my adven­tures below, or vis­it the com­plete col­lec­tion here on YouTube or iTune­sU.



Spe­cial Rel­a­tiv­i­ty

Event Hori­zons

Life on Mars

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Answers the Big Enchi­la­da Ques­tion, “Does the Uni­verse Have a Pur­pose?”

Mea­sur­ing the Uni­verse: How Astronomers Learned to Mea­sure Celes­tial Dis­tances Explained with Ani­ma­tion

The Hig­gs Boson, AKA the God Par­ti­cle, Explained with Ani­ma­tion

Demys­ti­fy­ing the Hig­gs Boson with Leonard Susskind, the Father of String The­o­ry

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.