A long-standing model that attempts to explain the origin and expansion of the universe- the Big Bang Theory, will finally get tested. Though it is widely-aqccepted in most scientific circles, it has never been truly proven beyond reson to be what it is and to rule out other scenarios that explain cosmic inflation—the constant and accelerating expansion of the universe.
A team of scientists from Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) might have just come with a new experiment to test one aspect of the Big Bang model, reports ScienceAlert. In a paper put out by the team, titled, "Unique Fingerprints of Alternatives to Inflation in the Primordial Power Spectrum," they have laid out the concept.
For those unfamiliar, cosmic inflation is believed to have happened 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang—the singularity, a point where all that is contained in the universe was concentrated to one point—and everything started to expand as a result of the explosion.
The "Inflationary Epoch" as such lasted until 10-33 to 10-32 seconds after the Big Bang. Right after this point, notes the report, the Universe's expansion slowed down and so according to this theory, the expansion of the universe, for a brief moment in time, was actually faster than the speed of light.
As to why this "epoch" is of importance to cosmologists, the report points out that it helps explain how, despite massive distances between various points in the universe, nearly the same conditions exist. The homogeneity and uniformity of the whole universe can be explained by how all things were one at some point in time.
This approach has so far not had any way to conclusively prove, or more importantly disprove, so other explanations as to how the universe came to be still do exist.
Researchers now propose that massive fields in the early universe would have experienced quantum fluctuations and density disturbances to an extent that should have directly recorded the scale of the entire early universe as a function of time, working like a standard clock of the universe, explains the report.
Astronomers will only have to measure signals from these fields and they predict that they would be able to tell if there were any variations in density that were seeded within them when the early universe was expanding or contracting. If measurable, this would effectively rule out alternative theories to cosmic inflation like the Big Bounce scenario, they said.