Astronomy and Space


What was the Big Bang?

The Big Bang theory is the explanation most commonly accepted by astronomers for the origin of the universe. It proposes that the universe began as the result of an explosion—the Big Bang—15 to 20 billion years ago. Two observations form the basis of this cosmology. First, as Edwin Hubble (1889–1953) demonstrated, the universe is expanding uniformly, with objects at greater distances receding at greater velocities. Secondly, Earth is bathed in a glow of radiation that has the characteristics expected from a remnant of a hot primeval fireball. This radiation was discovered by Arno A. Penzias (1933–) and Robert W. Wilson (1936–) of Bell Telephone Laboratories. In time, the matter created by the Big Bang came together in huge clumps to form the galaxies. Smaller clumps within the galaxies formed stars. Parts of at least one clump became a group of planets—our solar system.


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