Big Bang and the Age of the Universe

If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached it's present size - Stephen Hawking

Big Bang and the Age of the Universe
Big Bang and the Age of the Universe

WMAP estimated the age of the universe to be 13.772 billion years

Until recently, astronomers calculable that the large Bang occurred between twelve and fourteen billion years ago. To place this in perspective, the scheme is assumed to be 4.5 billion years previous and humans have existed as a genius for less than some million years. Astronomers estimate the age of the universe in 2 ways: 1) By trying to find the oldest stars, and 2) By finding out the speed of growth of the universe and extrapolating back to the large Bang; as similar as crime detectives tracing the origin of a bullet from the holes in an exceeding wall.

Under the laws of Einstein’s theory of relativity, if you’ve got a Universe like ours, which is:

  • of uniform density on the most important scales,
  • which has similar laws and general properties the least bit locations,
  • which is that the same all told directions, and
  • in which the large Bang occurred the least bit locations all over quickly,

Then there’s a singular association between however recent the Universe is and the way it’s swollen throughout its history.

Is it older than even the stars?

Astronomers could place a lower limit to the age of the universe by learning about circular clusters. Circular clusters are a dense assortment of roughly 1,000,000 stars. Stellar densities close to the middle of the circular clusters are huge. If we tend to live close to the middle of 1, there would be many hundred thousand stars nearer to us than the Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to the Sun.

The life cycle of a star is solely depended upon its mass. High Mass stars are a lot of brighter than Low Mass stars; therefore they quickly burn through their provision of hydrogen fuel. A star just like the Sun has enough fuel in its core to burn at its current brightness for roughly nine billion years. A star that’s doubly as large because the Sun can burn through its fuel provides supply for just 800 million years. A ten-star mass star, a star that’s ten times additional large than the Sun, burns nearly a thousand times brighter and has solely a twenty million year fuel provide. Conversely, a star that’s half as large because the Sun burns slowly enough for its fuel to last over twenty billion years.

All of the stars during a circular cluster are shaped at a roughly constant time; therefore they will function like cosmic clocks. If a circular cluster is over twenty million years old, then all of its hydrogen-burning stars are going to be less large than masses of 10 stars. This suggests that no individual element burning star is going to be over a thousand times brighter than the Sun. If a circular cluster is over two billion years old, then there’ll be no hydrogen-burning star larger than the masses of 2 stars.

The oldest circular clusters contain solely stars less large than the masses of 0.7 stars. This Low Mass stars are a lot less dim than the Sun. This observation suggests that the previous circular clusters are between eleven and eighteen billion years old. The uncertainty during this estimate is because of the problem indecisive the precise distance to a circular cluster (hence, uncertainty within the brightness (and mass) of the celebs within the cluster). Another supply of uncertainty during this estimate lies in our content of a number of the finer details of stellar evolution. Presumably, the universe itself is a minimum of as previous because the oldest circular clusters that reside in it.

Hubble constant

An alternative approach to estimating is that the age of the universe is to calculate the “Hubble constant”. The Hubble’s constant may be an estimation of the present growth rate of the universe. Cosmologists use this activity to extrapolate back to the large Bang. This extrapolation depends on the history of the growth rate that successively depends on the present density of the universe and on the composition of the universe.

If the universe is flat and composed largely of matter, then the age of the universe is

2/(3 Ho)

where Ho denotes the Hubble’s constant.

If the universe encompasses an extremely low denseness of matter, then its calculated age is larger:


If the universe contains a type of matter just like the constant, then the inferred age will be even larger.

Cosmic distance ladder
For the calibration of relatively short distances the team observed Cepheid variables. These are pulsating stars which fade and brighten at rates that are proportional to their true brightness and this property allows astronomers to determine their distances. The researchers calibrated the distances to the Cepheids using a basic geometrical technique called parallax. With Hubble’s sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), they extended the parallax measurements further than previously possible, across the Milky Way galaxy. To get accurate distances to nearby galaxies, the team then looked for galaxies containing both Cepheids and Type Ia supernovae. Type Ia supernovae always have the same intrinsic brightness and are also bright enough to be seen at relatively large distances. By comparing the observed brightness of both types of stars in those nearby galaxies, the team could then accurately measure the true brightness of the supernova. Using this calibrated rung on the distance ladder the accurate distance to additional 300 type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies was calculated. They compare those distance measurements with how the light from the supernovae is stretched to longer wavelengths by the expansion of space. Finally, they use these two values to calculate how fast the universe expands with time, called the Hubble constant.

Many astronomers are operating exhaustingly to calculate the Hubble’s constant employing a type of completely different techniques. Till recently, the simplest estimates ranged from sixty-five km/sec/Megaparsec to eighty km/sec/Megaparsec, with the simplest price being regarding seventy-two km/sec/Megaparsec. In additional acquainted units, astronomers believe that 1/Ho is between twelve and fourteen billion years.

WMAP satellite

Measurements by the WMAP satellite will facilitate and confirm the age of the universe. The elaborate structure of the cosmic microwave background fluctuation depends on the density of the universe, the composition of the universe and its enlargement rate. As of 2013, WMAP determined these parameters with an accuracy of higher than 1.5%. In turn, knowing the composition with this exactitude, we will estimate the age of the universe to regarding 0.4%: 13.77 ± 0.059 billion years!

WMAP satellite artist depiction from NASA
WMAP satellite artist depiction. Image Source: NASA

How will WMAP knowledge possibly aid us to see the age of the universe is 13.77 billion years, with an uncertainty of solely 0.4%? The key to the current is that by knowing the composition of matter and energy density within the universe, we will use Einstein’s theory of relativity to calculate how briskly the universe has been increasing within the past. Therewith info, we will flip the clock back and confirm once the universe had “zero” size, in line with Einstein.

The time between then and now could be the age of the universe. There’s one caveat to stay in mind that affects the understanding of the age determination: we have a tendency to assume that the universe is flat, that is well supported by WMAP and alternative knowledge. If we have a tendency to relax this assumption among the allowed vary, the uncertainty will increase a small amount. Inflation naturally predicts a really nearly flat universe.

The enlargement age measured by WMAP is larger than the oldest ball-shaped clusters, that the blow-up theory has passed a crucial take a look at victimization knowledge freelance of the kind collected by WMAP. If the enlargement age measured by WMAP had been smaller than the oldest ball-shaped clusters, then there would are one thing basically wrong regarding either the massive Bang theory or the speculation of stellar evolution. Either way, astronomers would have required rethinking several of their cherished concepts. However our current estimate ancient fits well with what we all know from other forms of measurements.

Expanding universe

In the Twenties, physicist Edwin Hubble discovered the universe wasn’t static. Rather, it had been expanding; a notice that exposed the universe was apparently born during a detonation.

After that, it had been long thought the gravity of matter within the universe was guaranteed to slow the enlargement of the universe. Then, in 1998, the Edwin Powell Hubble house Telescope’s observations of terribly distant supernovae disclosed that an extended time past, the universe was increasing a lot of slowly than it’s these days. In alternative words, the enlargement of the universe wasn’t fastness because of gravity, however instead inexplicably was fast. The name for the unknown force driving this fast enlargement is dark energy, and it remains one in every of the best mysteries in science.

Final Words

In a perfect world, once we wish to uncover the solution to a matter like “what is that the age of the Universe,” we’d have an unbelievable variety of freelance lines of proof, all joining to form an equivalent answer. However in point of fact, they are solely 2 smart ones, and one is better than the opposite.

The “good” one is to admit the actual fact that our Universe is increasing and cooling nowadays and to acknowledge that it absolutely was, therefore, hotter and denser within the past. If we have a tendency to return, to previous and earlier times, we’d notice that because the volume of the Universe was smaller, all the matter in it absolutely was not solely nearer along, however, that the wavelengths of all the individual photons (particles of light) in it were shorter, because the Universe’s growth has long them to be as long as they’re nowadays.

So, in conclusion, we’ve 2 methods — one from our cosmic history and one from measure native stars — that show us our Universe’s age is between thirteen and fourteen billion years recent. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if we have a tendency to be as very little as 13.6 or the maximum amount as 14.0 billion years recent, or even while very little as 13.5 or the maximum amount as 14.1 billion. However we’re not 13.0 or 15.0 billion years recent, and we’ve determined that with extreme certainty. Say we’re 13.8 billion years recent confidently, and currently you recognize however we’ve patterned it out!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here