Dr. Sky explores whether there was time before the Big Bang
Was there time — before time? Sounds like a strange question indeed!
The universe is thought to have existed after a major explosion that we have come to know as the so called “Big Bang.”
This was a moment in time when all matter was created out of this singular powerful explosion, about 13 to 15 billion years ago.
At that time, the explosion formed a gigantic signature around the early cosmos, in the form of the cosmic microwave background radiation field.
This is like a snapshot of the remains of the original explosion in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is not visible to the eye, but was the stuff of a previous Nobel prize, for its discovery back on May 20, 1964, by radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.
This is the remnant of the explosion, some 380,000 years after its creation.
After this, the universe was a very cold place indeed: No light and no heat, just a dark seething mass of dark matter and possibly some dark energy.
Recently, astronomers here in Arizona and Australia have detected what appears to be the first confirmation of early star light, in the post-Dark Ages of the universe.
Using sensitive detection equipment, like radio telescopes, they have acquired signals which appear to be from the first stars to glow. This places the first star light at around 180 million years after the Big Bang.
This revelation is important in that it shows evidence that stars were formed a lot earlier than previously thought in the current cosmological timeline.
If all time began at the inception of the Big Bang, what was there before the Big Bang?
Recently, famed astronomer and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has offered up some amazing explanation regarding what might have been before the Big Bang, specifically with regards to time: No one really understands what time actually is.
Books said time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occurs in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”
Sound confusing? Well, you are not alone.
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein said that “time is relative and flexible” and “the dividing line between past and present and future is an illusion.” So reality is ultimately timeless.
Hawking now offers up a theory of what may have existed before the Big Bang and time itself. He proposed that before the Big Bang, time and space as we know it did not exist.
The then-known universe was a dense ball of heat and energy the size of a tiny atom.
He claimed that before the Big Bang, time was “bent” as it was getting closer to nothing, but never became nothing.
According to Hawking, there are two time lines in the universe. The forward-moving, normal space-time which we measure our lives by on a horizontal plane and the mysterious time that is moving in an upward plane was known by him as imaginary time.
This is all so amazing and complicated, but the summary is this: According to Hawking, “there is no time before time began as time was always there,” as it was buried in the small quantum foam of a state known as singularity and this “time” existed in a”bent” state.
If you are more confused on the details in this article, just know that you are not alone.
By the way, does anyone know what time it is — and does anybody care?
I hope you do, as we are getting closer and closer to an understanding of the so-called Theory of Everything in the universe. This is the combination of general relativity and quantum field theory combined.
If that does not interest you, I hope that you might take the time to see the movie “The Theory of Everything,” which explained in detail the life and mind of Stephen Hawking.
Closer to home, here is a link to your March 2018 star chart.
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