8C10.30 - Expanding Universe

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Expanding Universe
Hubble's Law
Area of Study:
Galactic Astronomy
Balloons with 'galaxies' drawn on them, Plastic air hose, Clamp for air hose.

Draw galaxies onto the large balloons.  Tape a new balloon onto the hoses after each use as they are usually not good for more than one inflation. They may be inflated to 36 inch diameter or larger with no problems.  Don't fear balloon breakage as the pressures inside such a large balloon is 2 lbs. or less which means you won't even hear a good pop if it breaks.

  • Jeffrey M. Hyde, "Exploring Hubble Constant Data in an Introductory Course", TPT, Vol. 59, #3, March 2021, p. 159.
  • Lawrence M. Krauss, "The History and Fate of the Universe: A Guide to Accompany the Contemporary Physics Education Project Cosmology Chart", TPT, Vol. 41, #3, Mar. 2003, p. 146. 
  • David Chandler, "An Expanding Universe in the Classroom", TPT, Vol. 29, #2, Feb. 1991, p. 103.
  • Hubert N. Blezeveld, Jack Higlie, "Everything's Relativity", "How Physics Is Used to Repel Deer and Fleas", TPT, Vol. 24, #8, Nov. 1986, p. 512.
  • Jay M. Pasachoff, "The Future of the Universe", TPT, Vol. 17, # 5, May 1979, p. 291.
  • Maria Luiza Bedran, "A Comparison Between the Doppler and Cosmological Redshifts", AJP, Vol. 70, #4, Apr. 2002, p. 406.
  • Richard H. Price and Elizabeth Grover, "Cosmological Expansion in the Classroom", AJP, Vol. 69, #2, Feb. 2001, p. 125.
  • Michael Zeilik, "An Expanding Universe Demonstration", AJP, Vol. 50, #6, June 1982, p. 571.  
  • Will J. Percival, "Baryon Acoustics Oscilations: A Cosmological Ruler", Physics Today, Vol. 70, #12, Dec. 2017, p. 32.
  • Mario Livio, Adam Riess, "Reply to Historical Notes on the Expanding Universe", Physics Today, Vol. 67, #7, July 2014, p. 9.
  • Michael Way et al, "Historical Notes on the Expanding Universe", Physics Today, Vol. 67, #7, July 2014, p. 8.
  • Mario Livio, Adam G. Riess, "Measuring the Hubble Constant", Physics Today, Vol. 66, #10, Oct. 2013, p. 14.
  • Charles Day, "Galaxy Clusters Tighten Constraints on the Cosmic Accelerator", Physics Today, Vol. 62, #3, Mar. 2009, p. 14.
  • Robert Brandenberger, "Alternatives to Cosmological Inflation", Physics Today, Vol. 61, #3, Mar. 2008, p. 44.
  • Bertram Schwarzschild, "New Cosmic Microwave Background Results Strengthen the Case for Inflationary Big Bang Cosmology", Physics Today, Vol. 58, #5, May 2005, p. 16.
  • Isaac Asimov,  "Long Ago and Far Away",  Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.
  • Isaac Asimov,  "The Importance of Pitch",  Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.
  • Janice VanCleave, "13. Expanding", 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre, & Incredible Experiments, p. 8.
  • Janice VanCleave, "26. Expanding", Astronomy for Every Kid, p. 58.
  • Robert Ehrlich, "Expansion of the Universe", Why Toast Lands Jelly-Side Down, p. 189-191.
  • Wayne D. Peterson, "Showing the Expanding Universe Using a Mug Rack Expander", 2005 Apparatus Competition, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • "The History and Fate of the Universe",  Poster, Contemporary Physics Education Project; 2003: http://CPEPweb.org.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.