Scientists announced on Monday a major breakthrough in understanding how our universe was formed just moments after the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago…
The ‘smoking gun’ of evidence to help prove the rapid expansion of our universe following the Big Bang was revealed by scientists on Monday the could help explain the very origins of the cosmos.
The theory is called inflation — it’s the ‘bang’ in the big bang theory. Essentially, moments after the big bang occurred, the universe rapidly expanded ripping through space to create the cosmos as we know it today. What scientists were trying to prove is why the universe, as vast and wide as it is, all looks uniform and the same no matter how far out you explore.
Scientists led by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics studied light patterns while setting up a giant telescope in the South Pole and after nine years of research, the team finally hit pay dirt recently with the discovery of the patterns that prove inflation isn’t just a theory — it’s fact. Now other teams of scientists will comb through this data for months and months to verify the veracity of their information but if it’s all found to be accurate, this could be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the last half century.
To better describe what was discovered today, we’d rather allow famed physicist Brian Greene explain exactly what was announced:
Exciting news—the rumors have proved to be correct.
Here is a quick summary of what the excitement is all about:
The dominant scientific approach to cosmology, called the ‘inflationary theory,’ predicts that that just after the birth of the universe, space experienced a tremendous burst of expansion, causing it to swell from far smaller than the size of an atom to perhaps even farther than we can now see with our most powerful telescopes, all within a minuscule fraction of a second.
Tiny variations in the original space would have been stretched out in the expansion—and much as a pulled piece of spandex reveals the pattern of its weave, these stretched “quantum jitters” would be imprinted on the residual heat from the universe’s earliest moments, and would be detectable as a pattern of subtle temperature variations in the night sky. We’ve been finding and mapping these variations—a specific pattern of hot and cold spots in the cosmic microwave background radiation — with ever-greater precision since the early 1990s, a triumph of modern cosmology.
Today, researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, leading a team of researchers using a facility at the South Pole, say they’ve found, for the first time, a long-predicted second kind of fluctuation: ripples in the fabric of space itself, set down in the universe’s earliest moments. Believed also to be generated by quantum processes, these spatial vibrations are inferred from a delicate twist they impart to the cosmic background radiation.
If the results stand, they are a landmark discovery. They provide our first look into energy scales that are perhaps a million million times larger than that of the Large Hadron Collider, and will greatly sharpen our theoretical understanding of events that happened perhaps a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. The results also affirm, once again, the astounding power of mathematical analysis to lead the way into the most remote corners of creation.
Scientists from around the world have applauded the findings of the scientists who studied light patterns at the South Pole for most of the last decade. This information could prove to be a major key in understanding not only how our universe started, but then the formation of the galaxies, planets and space itself, which is still ever expanding just at a much slower rate than what happened following the big bang.