Scientists find first direct evidence of cosmic inflation [Xinhua]

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) — U.S. astronomers announced Monday they have captured the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time described as the “first tremors”” of the Big Bang in which the universe came into existence 14 billion years ago.

The researchers believed that the results represent the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation, a theory that say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times in less than the blink of an eye in the first fleeting fraction of a second after the Big Bang…

…”These results are not only a smoking gun for inflation, they also tell us when inflation took place and how powerful the process was,” [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics theorist Avi]…Loeb said.

These groundbreaking results came from observations by the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole of the cosmic microwave background, a faint glow left over from the Big Bang. Tiny fluctuations in this afterglow provide clues to conditions in the early universe. For example, small differences in temperature across the sky show where parts of the universe were denser, eventually condensing into galaxies and galactic clusters.

But as theorized, inflation should also produce gravitational waves, ripples in space-time propagating throughout the universe. Observations from the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole now demonstrate that gravitational waves were created in abundance during the early inflation of the universe…

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