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The Universe

expanding universe
 The Big Bang theory

Planets and planitissimals
The Solar System
The Solar System

The Big Bang and the History and Evolution of the Universe

Inflation Big Bang Quark Soup Radiation Era Decoupling The Early Universe The Present Universe
image from Cosmic Mystery Tour page
Copyright, © 1995: Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

Assuming the validity of the Big Bang theory (and it is only a theory, albeit one that has a lot of evidence going for it), the universe can be defined in terms of time, space, and temperature.  At the actual start of the Big Bang, there is no size (only a point) and temperature is infinite.  This is another way of saying what we have here is a Singularity, a point at which the known laws of the universe no longer apply.  As the universe expanded it went through various phases and stages, referred to as "eras" although most only lasted for a trillionth of a second or so.  These are summarised in the following timescale (click for more detail)

time since start of Big Bang
temperature of pace
in degrees Kelvin
radius of universe
Big Bang - The Plank Era (Quantum Gravity)
0 seconds infinite 0  The Big Bang begins and hence space and time come into existence. 
Plank Era - our present-day formulation of physics fails in principle to be able to explain what was going on. The quantum wavelength of the universe was larger than the size of the universe itself.  The universe has complete symmetry: all four forces we know today were unified. 
1x10-43 seconds 1032 10-35cm 
(Planck length)
At the Planck time, symmetry breaks. Gravity becomes a distinct force. We have entered the GUT era.  Here we have the Quantum limit of classical general relativity
The Inflation Era
1x10-38 seconds 1029 Limit of perturbative interaction - thermalization of universe
1x10-35 seconds 1028 Grand unification and spontaneous symmetry breaking
The universe enters a state called a "false vacuum", 
1x10-34 seconds 1027 Approximate start of inflation.
1x10-32 seconds 1027 Approximate start of reheating and end of inflation
The Quark-Lepton Era
1x10-32 seconds Electroweak era begins
1x10-11 seconds 3x1015 2 light-minutes End of Electroweak era.  The electro-weak force breaks down into two distinct components, the weak nuclear force and the electro-magnetic force. 
2x10-7 seconds 2x1013 about size of the Solar System Tauon anti-tauon annihilation
1x1013 The energy density is no longer sufficient to create quarks, so quarks freeze out of the universe. 
1x 10-6 seconds 12x1012 1.4 light-days The energy density is no longer sufficient to create protons.  The annihilation of baryons (protons and neutrons) destroys all the antibaryons and all but one per billion of the baryons
7x10-5  seconds 3x1012 Muon anti-muon annihilation
1/10 second 3x1010 Neutral current weak interactions become too slow and neutrinos decouple
1 second 1x1010 4 light-years Charged current weak interactions become too slow and neutron to proton ratio freezes out
10 seconds 5x109 Electron positron annihilation
The Radiation Era
100 seconds 1x10 Typical photon energies drop below the deuteron binding energy and nucleosynthesis (helium making) begins
200 seconds 8.4x108 K 55 light-years
1000 seconds 4x108
400,000,000o K
Particle energies drop below coulomb barrier energies and nucleosynthesis ends (end of helium making)
3,000 years 60,000o K Matter density becomes equal to radiation density
The Matter Era
300,000 3500o K transparent universe - atoms form - matter predominant
500,000 years 3000o K 1,500,000 LY Photon decoupling
1 billion years 20 o K Formation of galaxies
~2 billion years most chemical elements made
7 billion years Formation of the solar system
8.5 billion years Emergence of life on Earth
12 billion years 2.726o K now


web page The Evolution of the Early Universe--The Brief Version - Professor John Broderick

web pageIntroduction to Astronomy - The Universal Timeline - Prof. Frederick M. Walter


The Universe is likely to expand forever

Vacuum Energy and Dark Matter in Cosmology.

Everything we thought we knew about the universe is wrong! In the past year astronomical observations of type Ia supernovas have led to the conclusion that the universe is not only eexpanding and will expand forever, but also that it is accelerating as it expands, with a long- range "antigravity" repulsive force driving its expansion. The current explanation for this observation is that about 3/4 of the energy from the Big Bang is not in the form of matter but in the vacuum itself and that this vacuum energy is creating a negative pressure that accelerates the expansion of the universe. So the book-keeping seems to be that about 70% of the energy in the universe is in the vacuum, about 5% is in the form of normal matter (protons, planets, stars,galaxies, etc.), and the remaining 25% is "dark matter", mysterious invisible particles that inhabit the haloes of galaxies.

This new understanding raises far more questions then it answers. Why and how does the vacuum store energy? What is the dark matter? Why is the energy from the Big Bang distributed in this particular way? Is the energy in the vacuum constant with time, or is it changing? Could the vacuum suddenly decide to dump its energy and restart the Big Bang? And so on. The universe is a stranger place than we had imagined."

external link
external link

from Graham Kendall's external linkG.L.K file collection


expanding universe
 The Big Bang theory

Planets and planitissimals
The Solar System
The Solar System

Web SiteIntroduction to Cosmology - Cosmology is the study of the origin and evolution of the Universe. This web site introduces basic concepts in modern cosmology and describes the MAP (Microwave Anistropy Probe) mission at a general level.

Web Sitemovie filesCosmos in a Computer good introduction to modern cosmology, includes movie files

NASA web siteOrigins - Timeline of the Universe - This tutorial follows the 15-billion-year-long history of the Universe. The image above illustrates the major chain of events that eventually led to life on Earth. The sequence starts with the Big Bang and proceeds to the Chemistry of Life

Web SiteHistory of the Universe Timeline - From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe - The Mysteries of Deep Space Timeline - features clickable image map

web pageA Spacetime Map of the Universe - part of external link John Gowan's General Systems HomePage

web page no title - by Richard McCray - good summary of various cosmological topics

web pageincludes linksUniverse put on the map - from BBC News Online: Sci/Tech

NASA science news - click here to subscribe NASA/Marshall Science News Subscription Service -
be notified about the latest discoveries
- it's free and it's cool  :-)

web pageSpace, Time, and Relativity - David Pratt - argues against Einsteinian Relativity and the Big Bang paradigm from a Theosophical perspective


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content by M.Alan Kazlev (most of article) and Arvan Harvat (some of "Teachings")
page uploaded 30 November 1998, revised several times, last time 18 June 2000; last modified (menus and html only) 25 July 2009