big bang

How to Know Once and For All if the Universe Began With a Bang or a Bounce

According to the Big Bang cosmological model, our Universe began 13.8 billion years ago when all the matter and energy in the cosmos began expanding. This period of “cosmic inflation” is believed to be what accounts for the large-scale structure of the Universe and why space and the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) appear to be largely uniform in all directions.

Curious Kids: will the universe expand forever, or contract in a big crunch?

Curious Kids: will the universe expand forever, or contract in a big crunch?

About a century ago, we didn’t even know that galaxies existed. Then, in the 1910s, astronomers figured out how to measure the distance to features called “spiral nebulae” they were seeing in the sky. Although these looked like clouds of gas nearby to us, the scientists realised they were whole galaxies containing billions of stars, really far away.

ALMA and VLT Find Evidence for Stars Forming Just 250 Million Years After Big Bang

ALMA and VLT Find Evidence for Stars Forming Just 250 Million Years After Big Bang

Astronomers have used observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to determine that star formation in the very distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1 started at an unexpectedly early stage, only 250 million years after the Big Bang.

Researchers tackle question of how the universe became filled with light

Researchers tackle question of how the universe became filled with light

In accordance with the Big Bang model of cosmology, shortly after the Universe came into being there was a period known as the “Dark Ages”. This occurred between 380,000 and 150 million years after the Big Bang, where most of the photons in the Universe were interacting with electrons and protons. As a result, the radiation of this period is undetectable by our current instruments – hence the name.

The most distant massive galaxy observed to date provides insight into the early universe

The most distant massive galaxy observed to date provides insight into the early universe

In their pursuit of learning how our Universe came to be, scientists have probed very deep into space (and hence, very far back in time). Ultimately, their goal is to determine when the first galaxies in our Universe formed and what effect they had on cosmic evolution. Recent efforts to locate these earliest formations have probed to distances of up to 13 billion light-years from Earth – i.e. about 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

How giant atoms may help catch gravitational waves from the Big Bang

How giant atoms may help catch gravitational waves from the Big Bang

There was a lot of excitement last year when the LIGO collaboration detected gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of space itself. And it’s no wonder – it was one of the most important discoveries of the century. By measuring gravitational waves from intense astrophysical processes like merging black holes, the experiment opens up a completely new way of observing and understanding the universe.

Hubble finds clues to the birth of supermassive black holes

Hubble finds clues to the birth of supermassive black holes

Astrophysicists have taken a major step forward in understanding how supermassive black holes formed. Using data from Hubble and two other space telescopes, Italian researchers have found the best evidence yet for the seeds that ultimately grow into these cosmic giants.