OT: Major Space Discovery

Submitted by The Geek on March 17th, 2014 at 1:55 PM

The Board discussed this last week (HERE).

Researchers believe they discovered the signal in space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

The New York Times has an in-depth piece about the theory and  the BICEP2 team on the South Pole "seeing" the radio waves dating 13.8 billion years ago.

Dr. Alan Guth is credited with the theory of "inflation," which explains why the universe expanded so quickly and uniformly. The idea that the cosmos experienced an exponential growth spurt in its first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second would seem to be confirmed by this discovery.




March 17th, 2014 at 5:36 PM ^

As far as we can tell the visible universe is around 14 billion years old. We know that because that's as far as we can see. Since it appears the theory of inflation has been proved and the universe expanded at faster than the speed of light just after the big bang, wouldn't that make the universe younger? 


March 17th, 2014 at 10:14 PM ^

The speed of light limits the expansion rate of the universe. As I understand it space itself is expanding. It not about individual stars moving apart at a rate faster than the speed of light. Space has no mass so it can expand at a rate faster than light. This stuff is cool but also very confusing so I could be totally wrong.


March 18th, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

I'm not an expert, but I don't think the speed of light limit has anything to do with whether objects have mass. Photons of light obviously travel at the speed of light and can't move faster. As I understand it, space itself, however, isn't moving through space (it IS space), so would not be limited by the speed of light. In other words, you can't travel down the road at faster than 35 mph, but there's no such limit on stretching the road itself.

There's also a theoretical particle called a tacheon that would travel faster than light. It would require additional energy to slow down, and could never slow below the speed of light. Sort of the inverse of our normal particles. There's no direct evidence of its existence, however, so not much relevance to it at this point.


March 18th, 2014 at 12:44 AM ^

was really a big bang. We knew from radio waves the big bang occurred but we never knew  how rapid the universe grew in a fraction of a second. This was pure energy, if I remember correctly it took a bit of time before protons and atoms formed and matter won out over anti matter. Overall exciting news. Other theories suggest our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes. This is mind boggling!