Last modified on 10 May 2009, at 17:42

Purported Ancient Worlds/Previous Universe

In physical cosmology, the Big Bang is the scientific theory that the universe emerged from an enormously dense and hot state about 13.7 billion years ago. The Big Bang theory is based on the observed Hubble's law redshift of distant galaxies that when taken together with the cosmological principle indicate that space is expanding according to the Friedmann-Lemaître model of general relativity. Extrapolated into the past, these observations show that the universe has expanded from a state in which all the matter and energy in the universe was at an immense temperature and density. Physicists do not widely agree on what happened before this, although general relativity predicts a gravitational singularity (for reporting on some of the more notable speculation on this issue, see cosmogony).

The term Big Bang is used both in a narrow sense to refer to a point in time when the observed expansion of the universe (Hubble's law) began — calculated to be 13.7 billion (1.37 × 1010) years ago (±2%) — and in a more general sense to refer to the prevailing cosmological paradigm explaining the origin and expansion of the universe, as well as the composition of primordial matter through nucleosynthesis as predicted by the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow theory.