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09-19-2012, 12:56 AM
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What is redshift?
The term "redshift" arises from the fact that light from more distant objects shows up on Earth more red than when it left its source
The colour shift comes about because of the Doppler effect, which acts to "stretch" or "compress" waves from moving objects
It is at work in the sound of a moving siren: an approaching siren sounds higher-pitched and a receding one sounds lower-pitched
In the case of light, approaching objects appear more blue and receding objects appear more red
The expansion of the Universe is accelerating, so in general, more distant objects are moving away from us (and each other, and everything else) more quickly than nearer ones
At cosmic distances, the shift can profoundly affect the colour - the factor by which the wavelength is "stretched" is called the redshift
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