Blow It Up

Within the first infinitesimal fractions of the first second following the Big Bang, astronomers have theorized, the three forces other than gravity (electromagnetic, weak nuclear forces, and strong nuclear forces) in the universe were united as a single force.

Between 10-35 seconds and 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang, gravity had already split out as a separate force, but the other forces were still one. For an unimaginably brief instant, gravity pushed the universe apart instead of pulling it together. Theorists call this moment inflation, for obvious reasons. Within this inflationary epoch (not to be confused with the late 1970s), the universe expanded 100 trillion trillion trillion trillion (1050) times.

Of course, 10-35 to 10-32 seconds seems to us instantaneous; but there was time—however brief— before this, between the Big Bang and the onset of the epoch of inflation. During this period, all parts of the universe were in communication with one another. They had ample time to establish uniform physical properties before the epoch of inflation pushed them to opposite sides of the universe.

The early universe expanded faster than its constituent regions could communicate with each other. The universe, in effect, outran information, so that the most extreme regions have been out of communication with one another since 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang. Yet they share the properties they had at the very instant of creation. They continue to share these properties today. Thus, with the addition of inflation, the Big Bang can account for the horizon problem, and we've tied up one loose end of the theory.

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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