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The Big Bang, The Beginning of the Universe

Introduction

According to Genesis in the bible, Earth was created in six days with God resting on the seventh day. That is the religious view, the scientific view is that Earth was created over billions of years. This page is concerned with the scientific explanation for the creation of the world. There are two main theories on the creation of the universe, one is the Steady State Theory which was championed by amongst others Sir Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi. The other is the more well known theory known as the Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang Theory

The theory of the Big Bang was first theorized by astronomer Edwin Hubble who noticed that galaxies were moving away. This he worked out by looking at the galaxies light properties. If the light is more red than blue, it is moving away from us, it referred to as Red-Shift. If they are moving nearer, the blue is more prominent, also known as Blue-Shift. If they were moving away from a central point then they must have been together at one point in time. The Andromeda Galaxy is at least one exception to the rule, it is moving towards the milky way. You've got a long wait to see that happen as it won't happen for millions of years. Rolling back the years, it would seem that everything was together at one point and so Infinitesimally small that when you look at the universe now and how much matter is out there is quite hard to believe. All the matter that has ever existed including all the matter that makes up me and you was created at the moment of the Big Bang. All the matter was held together by immense gravity in a singularity.

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), what is often seen as the aftershocks of the Big Bang was discovered in 1964. This lended greater weight to the Big Bang theory. CMB was first proposed by scientists George Gamow and Ralph Alpher. Princeton University professors built a Dicke Radiometer which captured too much heat. This they deduced was evidence of the CMB. Scientists produced the Cosmic Background Radiation map to show the radiation in the observable universe.

Cosmic Background Radiation Map

When you watch a untuned in television, you see static on the screen but what you don't actually know is that the static is radiation left over from the start of the universe.

Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity is the framework for much of what is used in the BBT.

The term 'Big Bang' was coined by Sir Fred Hoyle in a contemptuous way because he did not like the theory. He was a proponent of the other theory.

The theory states that all matter in the universe was created from the sudden expansion of energy that happened very quickly. It was not as its name implies, an explosion as such but of an expansion, much like blowing up a balloon. Scientists believe the universe began as a really small than expanded. It is generally thought that the Big Bang started around about 13 Billion Years Ago. Since then, vast galaxies, stars and planets have been created and destroyed. Our Sun is relatively young compared to other stars in the universe.

Notable Periods in the History of the Universe

Augustinian Era

Time : Pre Big Bang

Description: This is the name scientists give to the time before the Big Bang. It is named after Saint Augustine who said before the Earth, there was no time. According to Einstein in his Theory of Relativity, there were no times before the Big Bang.

Planck Epoch

Time: seconds
Named after Max Planck who proposed this period of time. It is proposed that at this point in time, gravity was as powerful as the other known forces ( Electromagnetism, Weak Nuclear, Strong Nuclear ).

Grand Unification

Time: seconds to 10-36 seconds
At this point in time, gravitational forces split from the three other forces ( Electromagnetism, Weak Nuclear, Strong Nuclear )

Electroweak Epoch

Time: 10-36 seconds and 10-12 seconds
Once the universe had started cooling, the strong nuclear force broke away from the other two forces.

Inflationary Epoch

Time: 10-36 seconds and 10-32 seconds
It is a point of rapid growth where the universe grows a speck to something the size of which can be seen by a human eye if we were round in those days which we weren't. The Universe wouldn't be much bigger than a marble or a football field.

Supersymmetry Breaking

Quark Epoch

Time: 10-36 seconds and 10-32 seconds
During this period in time, quarks and anti-quarks began forming and destroying themselves.

Hadron Epoch

Time: 10-6 seconds and 1 second
This is the time when Quarks began joining together thus creating Hadrons. Hadrons were widespread but by the end, Hadrons and Anti-Hadrons had eliminated each other.

Lepton Epoch

Time: 1 second and 3 minutes
During this time, Leptons were numerous in number but by the end of this period, Leptons and Anti-Leptons had annihilated itself.

Photon Epoch

Time: 3 minutes and 380,000 years
When the Leptons had ceased, they began turning into Photons.

Nucleosynthesis

Time: 3 minutes and 20 minutes
A subsection of the previous epoch. This was when atomic nuclei begin to form. During this time, there were 3x's more Hydrogen than Helium-4.

Matter Domination

Time: 70,000 years
During this period of time, non-relativistic matter (atomic nuclei) and relativistic radiation (photons) are equal.

Recombination

Time: 240,000 - 310,000 years
At this point in time, Hydrogen and Helium begin to form. By the end of this period, most of the atoms are neutral which means photons travel unhindered.

Matter Era

Time: About 300,000 years
The period we are in now when matter has formed and the galaxy starts to take shape.


Time:

First Star

Time: About 200 Million Years
Scientists believe the first stars would have taken shape around that period. They would have been many times more massive than our own Sun. There would be no planets as the heavy elements that are needed for planets would not have formed by then. Looking for these stars would be fruitless as they would have gone supernova by now.

Early Galaxies

Time: About 500 Million Years
Unlike early stars, early galaxies would still be around today as they are made up of many millions of stars. When an early star exploded, its remains would be used to build new stars. Currently the earliest galaxies we have seen date from about 500 million years after the big bang.

The Sun

Time: About 5 Billion Years Ago
Scientists believe the Sun began life around 5 Billion Years ago, its said to be about middle aged. It began life as a matter cloud which began to shrink. People don't know what caused the cloud to begin to collapse, possibly an explosion somewhere else in the galaxy is a likely explanation.

The Earth

Time: About 4.5 Billion Years Ago
Scientists believe the Earth began its life around that period of time when the Sun had formed and left over dust from the creation of the Sun began to join and form planets, asteroids etc. It is believed a planet was to form between Mars and Jupiter but couldn't because of Jupiters gravitational power.

The Moon

Time: Between 4.5 - 4 Billion Years Ago
It is believed that the Moon was created around that sort of time when an object the size of Mars smashed into the Earth causing debris to shoot into space and form a spherical object.

The next list of eras is not an exhaustive list, there are other eras in between and after.
The ones I have chosen is either because they are well known (e.g. Jurassic) or of importance.

Hadean Period - Basin Groups

Time: About 4 Billion Years Ago
The first basic life-forms began their existence.

Hadean Period - Lower Imbrian

Time: About 4 Billion Years Ago
The end of the Late Heavy Bombardment period when the Earth and Moon was bombarded by rocks from outer space.

Archean Period - Eoarchean Period

Time: About 3.8 Billion Years Ago
Simple single-celled life forms began their existence.

Proterozoic Period - Paleoproterozoic

Time: 2.05 Billion Years Ago
Atmosphere becomes Oxygenic, breathable by todays standards.

Proterozoic Period - Neoproterozoic

Time: 1000 - 630 Million Years Ago
Fossils of multi-cellar life forms have been discovered.

Mesozoic Period - Triassic

Time: 251 - 200 Million Years Ago

Dinosaurs begin to dominate such as Ichthyosaurs and nothosaurs, and in the air as pterosaurs.

Mesozoic Period - Jurassic

Time: 199.6 - 150 Million Years Ago

Many types of dinosaurs, such as sauropods, carnosaurs, and stegosaurs.

Mesozoic Period - Cretaceous

Time: 150 - 70.6 Million Years Ago
Flowering plants dominate along with new types of dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is also at the end of this period that the dinosaurs are wiped off from the face of the Earth. Most likely explanation is the meteor strike.

Cenozoic Period - Neogene

Time: 23 Million Years Ago
Humans begin to appear on the Earth. During this time, supervolcano Lake Toba explodes (circa. 75,000 years ago) and pushes humanity to the brink of extinction. The survivors are our ancestors.

Today

Time: Present


The Steady State Theory

This theory which has largely disappeared from mainstream astrophysics was created in opposition to the Big Bang. It proposed that the Universe is self-generating. In other words, that matter lost would need to be replaced by new matter. The Universe would have no beginning and no end. It was always here and always will be here is the general lines on the subject.

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