What happened after the Big Bang? If scientists are right, the answer lies in the ticking of primordial clocks.
Since the discovery that our Universe is expanding, cosmologists have put forward ideas about how the Universe began. Was there a Big Crunch before the Big Bang? Did the Universe expand quickly or slowly?
“Imagine you took the frames of a movie and stacked them all randomly on top of each other. If those frames aren’t labeled with a time, you can’t put them in order,” says Xingang Chen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and the University of Texas at Dallas. “Did the primordial universe crunch or bang? If you don’t know whether the movie is running forward or in reverse, you can’t tell the difference.”
Because the beginning of the cosmos isn’t viewable by even our most powerful telescopes, it’s been impossible to prove which theory is correct, but a new paper published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics seeks answers in the massive particle signatures found in the afterglow of the Big Bang, called the cosmic microwave background (CMB).
Fluctuations from the particles on the CMB, which existed for just a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, may contain time stamps of the early Universe.
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