The origin of the universe, what came before and everything else about it

The question 'where did we came from and how did all this came to be' is an important and difficult subject to address. If you subscribe to religious doctrine, the answer is simple and direct and there is no need to question it further. As all the answers to any fundamental question is basically the same. But if you depend on science for these fundamental questions, the answer is a little harder to find and sometimes accept.

So, for those of us who depend on science, this is a theory of how we think it all happened.

The big boom that started it all

The origin of the universe is a complex topic that scientists and researchers are still trying to fully understand. But according to current scientific theories, the universe most likely began with the Big Bang, which occurred approximately 13.8 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million years.

The Big Bang was a massive explosion of energy and matter that created the universe as we know it today. At first, the universe was extremely hot and dense, and it expanded rapidly, cooling over time. As it cooled, particles and atoms began to form, eventually leading to the formation of stars, galaxies, and planets.

Although we still have many questions regarding the origin of the universe, the Big Bang theory remains the most widely accepted explanation of how it may have all began.

Who came up with the Big Bang theory?

The Big Bang theory originated from observations made by astronomers in the early 20th century. During this time, scientists began to study the spectra of light emitted by distant galaxies and noticed that the light was shifting towards the red end of the spectrum, suggesting that the galaxies were moving away from us.

In 1927, the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre proposed that the universe was expanding and that if he traced the expansion back in time, it would eventually reach a point of extreme density and temperature. He called this moment the "primal atom."

In the decades that followed, astronomers continued to gather evidence to support the idea that the universe was expanding. In the 1940s, astronomers George Gamow and Ralph Alpher proposed that the universe began as a hot, dense state and expanded rapidly, cooling over time.

In the 1960s, the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation, a faint glow of radiation that fills the universe, provided further evidence for the Big Bang theory.

Today, the Big Bang theory is widely accepted as the most accurate explanation of the origin and evolution of the universe, and is supported by a wide range of observational and experimental evidence.

What was there before the Big Bang?

The short answer is that we don't know what was there or what was going on before the Big Bang. This remains a subject of debate and scientific speculation, and there is currently no consensus among researchers.

One theory is that the Big Bang wasn't the absolute start of it all, but rather a moment of rapid expansion that followed an earlier universe collapsing in on itself. This theory is known as the "Big Rebound" hypothesis.

Another possibility is that the universe has always existed, and the Big Bang was simply a moment of rapid expansion and cooling that created the present observable universe.

However, it is important to note that these are just theories and there is currently no way to know for sure what happened before the Big Bang, if anything. The nature of time and space before the Big Bang may remain a mystery that we may never fully understand.

The best way to approach the question of what happened before the Big Bang and what lies beyond the edge of the universe; is that this is where science ends and speculation begins. In other words, we don't know, and probably never will as it was so long ago and no evidence probably remains. And now you can understand why so many still prefer religion and the answers it provides.

After the Big Bang

So what happened after the Big Bang? Based on theories, here is a brief timeline of the events that may have occurred after the Big Bang:

  • 0 to 1 second after the Big Bang: The universe is undergoing a period of rapid expansion known as cosmic inflation, which smoothes out any irregularities and sets the stage for galaxy formation. A second may seem short, but Ant-man has taught us that at subatomic levels a lot can happen in a second.
  • 1 second to 380,000 years after the Big Bang: the universe is still too hot for atoms to form, and instead consists of a plasma of subatomic particles. As the universe expands and cools, protons and electrons combine to form hydrogen atoms.
  • 380,000 years to 1 billion years after the Big Bang: The universe is filled with a glow of radiation known as the cosmic microwave background. Gravity causes regions of slightly higher density to attract more matter, eventually forming the first stars and galaxies.
  • 1 billion to 9 billion years after the Big Bang: galaxies continue to form and merge, while stars are born and die. Supermassive black holes also form at the center of galaxies.
  • 9 billion to 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang: the universe continues to expand and cool, and the rate of star formation gradually slows. The universe is also going through a period of accelerated expansion known as the dominance of dark energy.
  • And when you woke up: The universe is still expanding and is now approximately 13.8 billion years old. The galaxies and structures we see today have evolved over billions of years through the influence of gravity and other forces.

If all of that seems too confusing to you, don't worry, you're not alone. The reality is that to truly understand the scientific theory behind the origin of the universe, it's best if you have at least a basic understanding of science and physics. This implies an understanding of the heavenly bodies and what they are; how they came to be and the effect they have on each other. A general understanding of subatomic particles and what they are and their behaviors also helps to better understand and accept these theories.

But the most important thing would be patience to accept that these are all theories that require further exploration to understand. And also the patience to understand that we may never get an answer to some questions. And the patience to understand that; It's okay that we don't have the answer to everything.

And now that you have an idea of what the universe is; here's a list of some of the things we know or believe exist within it.

  • Galaxies: It is estimated that there are between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe alone. However, the actual number could be much higher, since the observable universe is only a small fraction of the total universe.
  • Stars: It is estimated that there are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. And since there are billions of galaxies in the universe, the total number of stars in the universe is likely to be in the trillions or even quadrillions.
  • Planets: There is no reliable estimate of the number of planets in the universe, but the current count of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) is over 4,000 and growing. It is believed that there could be billions of planets in our galaxy alone, and possibly billions or more in the universe.
  • Other Space Bodies: There are countless other space bodies in the universe, including asteroids, comets, moons, and other small bodies. It is estimated that there are millions or even billions of asteroids and comets in our solar system alone, and many more throughout the universe.
  • Black Holes: These are extremely dense objects with such a strong gravitational pull that nothing, not even light, can escape once they get too close. They form from the remains of massive stars that have collapsed in on themselves.
  • Supernovae: These are incredibly bright and powerful explosions that occur when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses in on itself. They can outshine entire galaxies and release vast amounts of energy and matter into space.
  • Neutron stars: These are incredibly dense stars that are created when a massive star collapses in on itself. They are so dense that a teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh as much as a mountain on Earth.
  • Gamma-ray bursts: These are intense bursts of gamma-ray radiation that are thought to be produced by supernovae or collisions between neutron stars. They are among the most energetic events in the universe and can be detected billions of light-years away.
  • Dark Matter: This is a mysterious substance believed to make up about 85% of the matter in the universe. It does not interact with light or any other form of electromagnetic radiation, making it invisible to telescopes.
  • Dark Energy: This is another mysterious substance that is believed to make up about 68% of the total energy in the universe. It is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe, but its exact nature is still poorly understood.
  • Gravitational waves: These are ripples in the fabric of space-time that are produced by the acceleration of massive objects, such as black holes or neutron stars. They were first detected in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and have opened a new window into the universe.

These are just a few examples of the many fascinating and complex phenomena that exist in the universe we know.

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