Our Expanding Universe: Age, History & Other Facts

The Big Bang

The Big Bang did not occur as an explosion in the usual way one think about such things, despite one might gather from its name. The universe did not expand into space, as space did not exist before the universe, according to NASA Instead, it is better to think of the Big Bang as the simultaneous appearance of space everywhere in the universe. The universe has not expanded from any one spot since the Big Bang — rather, space itself has been stretching, and carrying matter with it.

Since the universe by its definition encompasses all of space and time as we know it, NASA says it is beyond the model of the Big Bang to say what the universe is expanding into or what gave rise to the Big Bang. Although there are models that speculate about these questions, none of them have made realistically testable predictions as of yet.

In 2014, scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced that they had found a faint signal in the cosmic microwave background that could be the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, themselves considered a “smoking gun” for the Big Bang. The findings were hotly debated, and astronomers soon retracted their results when they realized dust in the Milky Way could explain their findings. mysterious ripples

The globular cluster NGC 6397 contains around 400,000 stars and is located about 7,200 light years away in the southern constellation Ara. With an estimated age of 13.5 billion years, it is likely among the first objects of the Galaxy to form after the Big Bang.
(Image credit: European Southern Observatory)
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