The History of the Universe [Infographic]
The history of the universe is the start of the clock for everything. And the start of the universe was at the Big Bang.
The Big Bang created space and all the hydrogen and helium atoms in it.
If you ask, how old are the atoms within your body? It was at the start of the Big Bang because most of your body is hydrogen and oxygen. So this means that you’re about 13.7 billion years old.
Everything after, it was supernovas that built all atoms in the dying stage of a star. So that means that your body is made of bits and pieces of stardust from is supernova.
We can never go back to the start of the Big Bang. But like detectives after a murder, we can find clues. Let’s review these clues.
1 Singularity into quarks, then quarks into hydrogen
According to Georges Lemaitre, he believed that all matter that exists today was condensed tightly. These primeval atoms or quarks are the smallest subdivision of matter.
Starting with quarks, theorists believe the Big Bang exploded. Then, quarks rushed out in all directions to form protons and neutrons for the hydrogen atom
Now, the boiling “soup” with electrons, quarks and other elementary particles. If you look at hydrogen separately, for individual hydrogen has more mass than one helium atom.
Space cools off rapidly and quarks form protons and neutrons. From quarks, these are the first building blocks of the universe.
2 Formation of the universe
If you started with singularity, nothing is there. During the Big Bang, the energy rapidly expanded outwards.
Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity (e = mc2) states that energy can get turned into matter. The matter that it gets turned into are the quarks and eventually hydrogen.
Hydrogen starts bundling together and rotating. Sir Isaac Newton states that the force of gravity pulls into a core.
3 Hydrogen and helium atoms form
As protons, electrons, neutrons combine and form atoms, these are the lightest atoms primarily hydrogen and helium.
As energy is given off with all of the helium in this system, we now have stars.
More stars are being created from the expanding cloud of hydrogen gas until you have billions of stars.
4 Galaxy formation era
Hydrogen and helium atoms begin to form giant clouds that will become stars and galaxies like our Milky Way.
As more area stars are created, we have stars attracting other ones into galaxies, which are just groups of stars. Most stars are at the center of galaxy with few at outer edges.
Stars tend to flatten out as they rotate flatten out. Similar to the Earth, it’s longer in the rotational axis because of its rotation.
We classify galaxies using the Hubble Galaxy Classification scheme which are spiral, elliptical and irregular in shape.
5 Supernovas produce heavy elements for planets
It’s from the last stage of a star during the intense core of a star where pressures are greatest. These supernova explode and form the more complicated elements on Earth such as uranium.
From a supernova, these are the 92 natural elements. many of which that are used to create rocks and minerals. That means that the elements on Earth and even in our bodies are from star dust remnants of exploding supernovas.
- Sun ~ 4.6 billion years old
- Solar System ~ 4.5 billion years old
- Milky Way ~ 13.2 billion years old