Cosmic timeline 02

The beginning?
At its beginning the Universe was a superdense mess of space, time and energy that is born of quantum uncertainty. The time up until 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds is called the ‘Planck era’.

It is just a theory!
Even though this era has a name (taken from the quantum physicist Max Planck) very little is known about the Universe at this time. The four fundamentals of our Universe as it exists now, gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism, were at the beginning of the Planck era a single unified superforce. Space-time was pretty fuzzy. But it is supposed that by the end of this brief era gravity becomes a distinct force, and space and time exist as the laws of quantum physics are transformed by the next chapter in the story, inflation!

The Universe expands!
This is an artist’s concept of the Universe expansion, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the Universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development.

Image from WMAP press release, 2006


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