Cosmic timeline 04
Following the grand unification epoch, defined as “Between 10–43 seconds and 10–36 seconds after the Big Bang”, in physical cosmology the electroweak epoch was the period in the evolution of the early universe when the temperature of the universe was high enough to merge electromagnetism and the weak interaction into a single electroweak interaction . The electroweak epoch began approximately 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang, when the strong force separated from the electroweak interaction. This phase transition triggered a period of exponential expansion known as cosmic inflation.
As we have noted before, recent observations made by the COBE and WMAP satellites observing the cosmic microwave background radiation have transformed cosmology from a science of speculations into a science that can be experimental and able to predict what the results of experiments and observations might be.
As these observations matched predictions made by a theory called Cosmic inflation, which is a modification of the standard big bang theory. This has led many to refer to modern times as the “Golden age of cosmology.”
Cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation or just inflation is the idea about the super-rapid, or exponential, expansion of the universe at the end of the grand unification epoch, 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds after the Big Bang, driven by a what the cosmologists call a “negative-pressure vacuum energy density”. It lasted until 0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds after the initial expansion that formed the universe.
Not long then!
And so much happening!
The term “inflation” is also used to refer to the hypothesis that inflation occurred, to the theory of inflation, or to the inflationary epoch.
As we have noted before, without this super-rapid expansion our universe would not have survived for more than a moment or two, in a condition of “time” at the beginning of everything that is really difficult to understand.
As a direct consequence of this expansion, all of the observable universe originated in a small causally connected region. So everything an astronomer sees now through the many different ways of observing the universe begins in this almost unbelievable super-rapid expansion event.
For cosmologists Inflation answers the classic puzzle of the big bang cosmology: why does the universe appear flat (that is the geometry of space we are used to), homogeneous (or is the same everywhere) and isotropic (which means the same in all directions) and so fits with all the cosmological ideas a big bang scientist would expect if you have this inflation event. On the basis of the physics of the big bang, and without this Inflation they would expect to see a highly curved, heterogeneous universe? So inflation is absolutely necessary to explain the way things appear now, even though it still full of mystery.
Inflation also explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. Quantum fluctuations in the microscopic inflationary region, magnified to cosmic size, become the seeds for the growth of structure in the universe, like galaxy formation.
While the detailed particle physics mechanism responsible for inflation is not known, the basic picture makes a number of predictions that have been confirmed by observation.
Inflation is thus now considered part of the standard hot big bang cosmology.
The hypothetical particle or field thought to be responsible for inflation is also called the inflaton.
During the rapid expansion of the very early universe, in the period of time up to 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds, which we call ‘inflation’, the Universe grew by a factor of 10 to the power 70, this is a 1 followed by 70 zeros.
What does this number look like? Like this!