The universe appeared almost 14 billion years ago, and beginning to it was an event called the Big Bang. Now British scientists claim that they’ve got a clear piece of evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos began with a powerful jump-start.
Researchers named the discovery as major advance in case it is confirmed by others. Although many experts already believed that initial, extremely rapid spurt happened, finding this evidence has been a key goal in the study of the universe.
Scientists reported a few days ago that they managed to find it out by peering into the faint light that remains from the Big Bang.
If verified, the discovery “gives us a window on the universe at the very beginning, when it was far less than one-trillionth of a second old,” said theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who made no part of the research team.
“It’s just amazing,” he said. “You can see back to the beginning of time.”
Another expert, physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the stude either, explained to reporters that the finding already some ideas about the rapid birth of the universe can be ruled out.
Right after the incredibly strong explosion, the universe was a hot soup of particles. And it took about 380,000 years to cool enough that the particles could form atoms, then stars and galaxies.
As The Huffington Post reminds, billions of years later, numerous planets formed from gas and dust that were orbiting stars. The universe has continued to spread out.
Krauss went on, adding that he thinks the new discovery could be named one of the greatest ones regarding the universe over the last 25 years, such as the Nobel prize-winning finding that the universe’s expansion is accelerating.
For their research, scietists scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years using a special telescope at the South Pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations.
The group of researchers were looking for a specific pattern in light waves within the faint microwave glow which left after the explosion.
The pattern has been previously considered as a unique piece of evidence of the rapid growth spurt, also known as inflation. Kovac called it “the smoking gun signature of inflation.”
Arizona State’s Krauss, however, noted that it’s possible that the light-wave pattern is not a sign of inflation, although he stressed that it’s “extremely likely” that it is. He went on, adding that it’s “our best hope” for a direct test of whether the rapid growth spurt happened.
Krauss and his colleagues admit that the results of their research must be verified by other observations, a standard caveat in science.
Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the study, called the detection of the light-wave pattern “huge news” for the study of the cosmos.
“It’s not every day you wake up and learn something completely new about the early universe,” he concluded.