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Physics - The Evolution of the Universe

About 13.7 billion years ago, the universe as we know it didn’t exist. No atoms, no light, no photons; not even space or time. Perhaps in an instant, the universe took form as a tiny dense speck filled with light. In a miniscule fraction of a second, all the matter and energy in the cosmos came into being.

Much smaller than an atom, the infant universe was searingly hot, a fireball that begin mushrooming in size and cooling at a furious rate.

Astronomers around the world have come to know this picture of the birth of the universe as the Big Bang theory. The Big Bang wasn’t like a bomb that explodes into the environment – there was no environment until the Big Bang occurred – it was the origin and rapid expansion of space itself.

During the first trillion-trillion-trillionth of a second, the universe grew more than a trillion-trillion-trillion times bigger. From an original smooth mixture of subatomic particles and radiation arose the collection of galaxies, galaxy clusters, and superclusters present in the universe today.

It’s amazing to think that the largest structures in the universe, congregations of galaxies that stretch hundreds of millions of light years across the sky, began as subatomic fluctuations in the energy of the infant cosmos.

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