Astronomy is a branch of science redolent of wild speculation, which urges the old lemon in one’s head to squeeze out a juice of predictions. Predictions are irrevocably termed as the ‘lightning bolt’ for an astronomer.
One such prediction that has succeeded to cleave its way through a gamut of eons is the Big Bang, which aims to elaborate about the origin of the colossal universe. It must be noted that there are myriads of faults in the Big Bang, however it thrives to be one of the most believable ‘prediction’.
The Big Bang commenced with an effervescent ball of gas that decided to explode and expand at a flabbergasting rate. Addressing the issue of why the universe decided to explode is a convoluted, enigmatic mystery which transmogrifies even Shakespeare’s language into a piece of cake.
For the first 10-43 seconds after the big bang, our universe was eclipsed by the Plank era, where all the fundamental forces of nature were united into a single force. The beauty of this era is that no known law of physics is capable of describing the behavior of the universe in this era.
Between 10-43 seconds and 10-36 seconds, the universe continued to expand and the gravitational force decided to bid goodbye to the other fundamental forces of nature.
Between 10-36 seconds to 10-12 seconds, the universe’s temperature dropped so that the nuclear forces separate themselves from the electroweak forces. Later, the electroweak forces broke down into electromagnetic and “weak nuclear forces.”
These four fundamental forces have been handed over their own departments to take care of: weak forces control radioactive decay; strong force binds the atomic nucleus; electromagnetic force binds molecules and gravity binds matter.
Shortly after the Plank Era, photons began converting themselves into matter-antimatter particle pairs and annihilated themselves spontaneously to give back a photon particle.
Hence, before the strong and weak electroweak forces parted ways like ‘Brian’ and ‘Domino’ from the ‘Fast and Furious’ series, the universe was a cauldron of quarks, leptons and their antimatter particles.
What are quarks? Quarks are particles with a fractional charge. While naming the quarks scientists ostentatiously assumed that they had a majestic sense of humor. They classified quarks into six categories: up and down, strange and charmed, top and bottom.
During the quark-lepton era, the universe confronted a remarkable asymmetry, in which matter barely outnumbered its counterpart (antimatter) by a billion-and-one to a billion. The small difference was barely noticed; however, these were the survivors of the early universe.
Following this era was the hadron epoch, where the temperature to produce quarks hit the nadir and so the quarks came in pairs. This created the hadrons in the quark-hadron transition. The slight matter-antimatter symmetry was hierarchy passed on.
After one second, the hadron epoch ceased and succumbed to the lepton epoch, where a small residue of leptons was spared.
Neutrons have a half-life of 887 seconds when not in a nucleus. Thus, nuclear fission is credited with the responsibility to have permitted neutrons to thrive. The Deuterium Bottleneck in the first 90 seconds limited nuclear fusion, however the primordial nuclear reactions did take place and produced a universe with 25% Helium and 75% Hydrogen.
A photon needs 13.6 eV of energy to knock electrons off hydrogen atoms. When the universe was young, photons had this energy and this left behind a bunch of ionized hydrogen. This ionized hydrogen scattered light and produced a glowing fog. Once the universe was cool enough for the ionized hydrogen to recombine with electrons, the universe became transparent and the photons became free. This sea of photons is the microwave background.
This is the ‘Big Bang’ and the creation of the universe. Perhaps, a barrage of questions has dawned upon your mind seeking answers to the credibility of Big Bang (assuming that the Big Bang did happen). These questions will not be abandoned and will be addressed in my future articles. Keep reading!!! And continue to speculate, innovate till you constipate!