Only about a century ago, the generally accepted idea in science was that the Universe never had a beginning. But the priest and physicist Georges Lemaître proposed in the 1920s the theory that most scientists are considering today to be the most reliable one that can explain how our Universe was born.
We’re obviously talking about the Big Bang Theory, the one that states that the totality of space, matter, and time was once compressed into a singularity smaller than the tip of a needle. But we cannot pretend that there aren’t plenty of shortcomings of the theory, such as finding out what triggered the expansion, why the singularity had so much energy, how did the laws of physics emerge, and so on.
We have the most precise estimation for the Universe’s age
Salon.com writes that new research was done after analyzing the Universe’s oldest light sources and based on data provided by the Chilean National Science Foundation’s Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT). Therefore, the conclusion is that our Universe’s age revolves around 13.77 billion years old, give or take 40 million years. The researchers involved in the study also looked at data from the same light sources that belong to the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency.
Simone Aiola, the first author of one of two scientific papers and a researcher at the Center for Computational Astrophysics from Flatiron Institute, declared for Cornell University:
Now we’ve come up with an answer where Planck and ACT agree,
It speaks to the fact that these difficult measurements are reliable.
However, we must emphasize that scientists still have a lot to learn about the Big Bang. Oddly enough, the ‘bang’ was actually the beginning of the unfolding of space, time, and matter. There wasn’t a bang in the literal sense.
The Universe could be much larger than scientists know
Based on the current measurements done by scientists, our Universe’s diameter is about 93 billion light-years. But the chances are high that the totality of the portion of space, matter, and time that we live in is tremendously larger – it could be even one million times bigger. What astronomers are able to see with their powerful telescopes is only the observable Universe, meaning all the way to the farthest corners from where the light had enough time to reach us during the 13.77 billion years since the Big Bang. It takes a lot of time even for light to travel astronomical distances since it’s also limited, although we cannot feel it during our everyday lives. The speed of light is 299 792 458 m / s, and nothing in the Universe can surpass it, according to Albert Einstein.
While the Universe expanded even faster than the speed of light during its early stages after the Big Bang, this phenomenon was considered by some people at first to be a violation of Einstein’s claim. There’s no violation at all, and the explanation is simple: Einstein’s claim refers to the speed of light through the Universe itself, not outside of it or at its edges.
The million-dollar question remains this: what existed before the Big Bang? The great astrophysicist Stephen Hawking explained that while time itself was created at the Big Bang, the question is illogical. There was no time for anything else to exist before the Big Bang. But not all scientists share the same view as Hawking. For instance, Brian Green says that another reliable hypothesis is that an inflationary field existed before the Big Bang.
The new scientific research that reveals the age of the Universe to be 13.77 billion years old was published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.