Et Tunc Nulla Erat (And Then There Was)

Et tunc nulla erat
 (And Then There Was)

Paradise Lost:
An ending beginning that began to end…

This complex terminology of mine is in reference to the universe and all contained. To explain its significance involves evolution and of course a bit of time. So sit back, and once you’re relaxed, hopefully from that point forward you’ll enjoy the revelations.

For the most part, we only think of evolution in terms of life…as one species gives way and rise to another. But from the infancy of our universe, even the inanimate has evolved. Pure energy had to evolve into mass then molecular matter or I would not be writing this and you would not be reading it.

Before the beginning there wasn’t an ending…there just was…a subatomic infinite point of immersed energy. A comprehending oxymoron if there ever was one, but we cannot decipher exactly what this immensely small infinite point was; for time had not yet begun to record any physical history. We can relay the conception of the universe down to the microsecond of its birth, but for the before, there simply is nothing to observe or record. All the sciences, all the mathematics and all the gods break down before the event. It is cosmologically impossible to describe. Of course what we are commenting about is the before…afore the Big Bang.

Before the Big Bang, all we see, all we feel and all we relate to with and within the universe today were contained as energy in a single subatomic point. Within a radius of curvature smaller than a proton, therein contained all space, time, energy and matter we witness today throughout the universe in that one absolute single point known as the initial singularity. We can only imagine the extreme heat and pressure and weight of all we know in this point…but indeed these measures were consummate in utmost intensities. Nonetheless though, all was in equilibrium, a paradise of complete harmony, until…all chaos unfurled…

This before time paradise was lost and as its cause we don’t know, but once the utopia of energy relinquished…boom…the Big Bang occurred as the resultant establishing time as a marker to record. Most likely though, the Big Bang was more like a poof than a bang, for as we know, sound needs a medium like an atmosphere to travel through and for sure no such thing was evident this early in the universe’s infancy.

We are stardust, the compositional result of some past nearby supernova explosion spewing out debris that formed our sun and the solar system it commands. Even further, we along with the stardust are a composition of ash, remnants of the Big Bang.

For those that follow astrophysics, you may quickly state the universe is 13.7 billion years old, but most recent studies suggest the universe is a bit older at 13.82 billion years. This is only a 100.2 million year difference within the vast timeframe of the universe, but it is no less significant because it slows down the actual rate of velocity the universe has been expanding.

Using recorded cosmic microwave background of emissions from the early universe, in 1989 the first detailed mapping of the universe by COBE was produced deriving the approximate age.

Early Universe COBE Mapping

Much more preciseness in geometry and evolution was detailed by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) conducted in 2001. It corroborated the approximate age.

Early Universe WMAP Mapping

However, the Planck satellite that had higher resolution for reaching deeper into space, gave us the most detailed mapping yet of the early universe when it was only 370,000 years old. The finished analysis of the Planck collaboration in 2012 gave high resolute images of temperature, gravity and mass density fluctuations. The Planck findings give an accurate and clear portrait of the Big Bang’s atomic soup beginning to coalesce into matter. This event was the period when protons first began fusing to electrons producing hydrogen…the universe’s first element.

Planck Mapping with N. & S. Hemisphere (circle: cold spot)

 Now, with the above in mind let’s journey…   

Universal Birth:
The very moment of the Big Bang, the universe’s first microsecond of existence 13.82 billion years ago, is cosmologically impossible to describe, for at zero time and infinite volume, the threshold temperature reached 1,500,000 million thousand degrees Kelvin. This endmost temperature level was so intense, it super-concentrated quarks, the strongly interacting and attractive forces holding atomic nuclei together. This immense union of quarks and pi mesons (also called pions, which are first generation quarks) is above the eve of particle realization experiencing total nuclei decay as radiation, with space and time as collapsed. But alas, due to phase transitioning, as the universe expanded during the course of one-hundredth of a second after the beginning, temperature cooled to 100,000 million degrees Kelvin (10¹¹ ºK). We can now begin to calculate, for statistical quantum mechanics are at play independent of what went on before. Pi mesons begin their initial dispersion through the rapid expansion from now on as a relative point, with massless particles such as quarks, antineutrinos, photons, gluons, leptons and slightly-massed neutrinos pirouetting out of the total energy density of radiation. At this point though, the total energy density is still greater than the escape velocity of electromagnetic energy. The mass density is 3.8 thousand million kilograms per liter, which is 3.8 thousand million times the density of water under normal Earth conditions. Einstein’s E = mc2 formula works nicely in explaining the equivalent relationship between the given energy conversion to the given mass density.

Between the first three minutes of the universe’s inception, many particles and events evolve determined by the expansion’s lowering of temperature. Neutrinos become free particles to go about their own business. Gluons and hadrons, the subatomic building blocks of atoms, appear then disappear tied-up in protons and neutrons. Most of the leptonic electrons, along with antiparticles appear then vanish. The remaining electrons are being snatched up by proton and neutron nuclei, balancing the charge of the protons. Permanent bonding of atomic nuclei though, only occurs once temperatures drop to 3,000 million degrees Kelvin (3•109 ˚K). The universe’s heat radiation was at that point on, dictated by photons. Its generation was now to be dictated by atomic oscillation. 

The grand unified theories (GUTS) predicted and proved perhaps the most important moment of our universe, which was the unification of the electromagnetic force and weak force. In turn, this newly formed electroweak force then united with the strong force. This meson material is the glue that holds atoms together and allows their blueprint and mapping to bond into molecules that lead to larger empirical structures, whether in covalent or ionic bonding. This is the reason why elements, compounds, galaxies, suns, planets, organic molecules and you formed.

GUTS, in conjunction with the Hubble constant, also explained a predicted process that would happen in the bonding and unification of atomic nuclei. It is called inflation. When the strong forces took hold of atomic nuclei, the universe expanded at an accelerated rate. The radius of curvature suddenly went from around the size of a proton to a grapefruit. That may still sound small to most, but in comparison, it’s like that same grapefruit instantly becoming around the size of our solar system. Now that is, one large grapefruit!

At that moment our universe, as an inflationary one, uniformly maintained its temperature established from the initial temperature when the rapid expansion occurred. This was the last time all universal components were touching, but with all parts in contact, temperature had no variables, thusly it shared in a constant temperature range that has been maintained as uniform throughout the existing universe. This is documented through the cosmic microwave background seen today as an homogenous transition phase, first established during the initial inflationary epoch.

All this occurred not in nothingness or even a region of form and matter, but in an unexplained field known as the inflaton. Just as an electric or magnetic field, the inflaton field was scalar even though we don’t know exactly what the inflaton was; we know that it was evident during the inflationary epoch.

At a high energy state just after the universe’s birth, the inflaton field was a phase transition triggering quantum fluctuations. In releasing its potential energy during its high energy state as radiation and matter, it settled down to its lowest energy level. In so doing, this action generated a repulsive force forming the observable universe during the inflationary period, expanding our infant universe from 10-50 meters in radius at 10-35 seconds to that grapefruit of one-tenth of a meter at 10-34 seconds.     

So, in the first three minutes of the universe’s existence, dictated by temperature effects, we saw transitional stages of massless quarks disappearing locked up in hadrons and leptons. In turn, as temperatures further decreased, hadrons became locked in protons and neutrons forming atomic nuclei that reciprocally attracted the remaining electrons, which arose from leptons, to form atoms. With temperatures below the very first intensities of the Big Bang’s microseconds of existence, subatomic particles such as quarks and mesons are no longer free particles as they lined up much like magnetized file shavings, rearranging themselves, disappearing from detection in becoming a component of the constituents of atoms.

Universal Growth:
Once temperatures receded to 300 million degrees Kelvin (3•108 ˚K), 34 minutes and 40 seconds into the universe’s span, nuclear reactions have fused atomic nuclei into hydrogen. It is the first, lightest and simplest element with only one proton, along with one electron, thus with an atomic number of one. Hydrogen becomes the universe’s most common element at ~72-75% of the total 100% elemental spread. Except for what is locked up in compounds, hydrogen is uncommon as free here on the earth, due to its lightness enabling it to escape through Earth’s atmospheric make-up. Helium, the second lightest element also is able to form, making it the second most common element at ~25-28%. The heaviest element at this time to form is lithium. All other elements will have to wait for the nuclear furnaces to fire-up in stars. Besides isotopes of hydrogen and helium, the only compounds with chances of nuclei particles to collide, fuse and form, are chiefly deuterium, which is an isotope of hydrogen with one neutron. Shortly within this temperature and time frame, the energy density becomes equivalent to a mass density of 9.9% correlative to water, halting nuclear processing. Stabilized nuclear particles are primarily hydrogen and helium nuclei smeared into a vast expanse of photons, neutrinos and antineutrinos.

Only after 700,000 years does the expansion cool down enough to form cooling gas cloud nebulae and with the combination of Planck time (the unification of gravity to the other three forces), the cooling atomic gases of hydrogen and helium begin to condense and contract. Under the pressures of higher densities, mass heat intensified until it acted as the pilot light igniting the proton-proton chain nuclear fusion ovens forming the very first protostars. In turn the stars began to cook the other heavier elements. Under increasing weights, matter of gases and solids were pulled to center points forming galaxies, shaping the universe as we know it today. Although there will be uncommon galaxy cannibalism and collisions, on average galaxies begin flying apart from one another with the velocity of recession proportional between them.

Supernovas, huge massive stars exploding at the end of their life cycle, give off a luminous intensity brighter than a whole galaxy composed of billions of stars. In this process, most of its mass down to iron is ejected for fodder in further celestial making. The first series of nuclear fusion in supernovas are like any other star, welding four atoms of hydrogen into one single helium atom. As the process continues, reaction is accelerated due to mass density with energy equivalency releasing the excess mass as heat. Once hydrogen is used up the fuel for the contracted reactor core becomes helium, burning it into carbon, which will become the next fuel. All the while, the star is contracting, due to gravity no longer being opposed as from the results of the star’s shedding of energy. The hotter it gets with the gravitational density, the more the core ignites with heavier element fusion reactions. The newly formed carbon is now used for fuel to fuse into neon, then neon into oxygen and so on until the last cycle of fusion combines silicon into iron nuclei. Iron is the last line for spontaneous fusion as its strongly bound nucleus absorbs energy, rather than releasing it.

Quasars are ancient and are always located near the center of very distant galaxies. They emit detectable radio frequencies due to electrons being accelerated towards the speed of light in the presence of magnetic field regions. Though they are centered in juvenile galaxies, there are no young quasars and appear to have developed at a different stage and era of our universe—an example of extinction in the course of the universe’s evolution. The radio frequencies broadcast by quasars are essentially fossil relics of times past…evolution as recorded.

Somewhat exotic and foreign to our sensibilities—all these laws of physics just discussed, including the governance of radiation emissions and absorption, gravity and atomic and nuclear reactions can be time reversible. These particles and forces do not distinguish time as past or future therefore their fundamental processes can work in reverse just as well, violating no physical laws. This is known as time reversibility. Time is not absolute, but relative as shown in Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Time currently proceeds forward in the same outward direction everywhere in the universe. For now, entropy, guided by the second law of thermodynamics, distinguishes between past and future dictating time’s arrow as pointing forward into futures.

Now, as the universe expands, the quandary I had was what it was expanding out into? For how can something go out into nothing? To solve this riddle, one can liken the universe and its expansion to a balloon with various sized black dots drawn on its surface. As you blow up the balloon, only its surface expands from the inward pressure of your exhaled air inside it. This form of implosion also moves the marked black dots further away from each other. These marks moving away from each other on the balloon’s surface represent the galaxies, which bring us to another evolutionary sequence of our universe.

Maturing Universe (WMAP)

Aging Maturity:
Using the Hubble constant along with electromagnetic redshift radiation, astrophysicists can calculate down to within 10% of suspected value. With this information, the universe is traveling at 72 kilometers/second/mega par second. As in the balloon being blown, the expansion is in all directions outward from that original Big Bang singularity point.

I had always been a proponent of deflation where the universe would eventually slow down enough, due to gravity’s pull and begin to retract back upon itself until ultimately ending up in the Big Crunch; the reverse of the Big Bang and inflation.

Had you ever experienced déjà vu where you could swear you’ve been at some place you’ve never been before, or met someone you know for sure you’d already met? I thought this was the endless cycle the universe was in and would infinitely course—from Big Bang, inflation to deflation, Big Crunch, to Big Bang, inflation and so on ad infinitum… This was my argument for déjà vu in that we had gone through our exact lives over and over who knows how many times due to the universe’s countless repetition of itself in the same sequences, which includes us. Somehow, when going somewhere or meeting someone for the first time, perhaps our memories were recalling glimpses of what we have done millennia times before. Through mass versus velocity calculations of dark matter and dark energy ratios, it appears the Big Crunch is not a part of the universe’s evolution cycle.

The universe is to expand outwards indefinitely. The omega (Ω) mathematical constant of 1 has an approximate value of 0.57 and is a transcendental number, therefore cannot be algebraically used, but can be proven irrationally in angular or curvature velocities. In calculations of the ratio between energy density of the cosmological constant and the critical density of the universe, the constant has a static fixed value of 1. If a cosmological constant calculation equaled out to exactly 1 the universe would have just enough matter to flatten. If it exceeded 1, gravity would win out and deflation would begin to occur. If calculations result in any number below 1, our inflationary universe will continue to expand outwards forever in its duration.

With a better understanding of dark energy and dark matter, the cosmic microwave background radiation fully analyzed and along with the classical unified theories, they have now been able to derive a numeric value. It is Ω~0.7, well below 1. So, with the universe influenced more from dark energy favoring velocity, than dark matter that favors gravity, the universe is to expand until matter becomes so far apart, absolute zero (0 ˚K) will begin its encroachment.

Now let me tell you, 0 ˚K is a tad cold being -273.15 ˚C/-459.67 ˚F. Being this cold even freezes movement down to atomic levels.With no atomic oscillation, thus no heat, all protons, neutrons and nuclei will simply decay away in the distant future of 10³² years from now. Except for a few scattered photons, total darkness will envelope all. Even after a whopping 10100 years, black holes holding prisoner massive amounts of universal matter and energy will have totally evaporated away; the last remnants of the universe gone; the last vestiges of any geometric symmetry of the universe’s existence lost beyond the ages from within and throughout.

Just like the black marks on the balloon, with the exception of a few galactic collisions, galaxies are moving away from each other at expanding acceleration as the universe evolves. In three billion years, if there is an option for an observer to exist, the observable sky from Earth will be much less in brightness to see. Aging stars will have played out and the younger forming stars will be much further away.

In 1015 years, after ever increasing expansion of the cosmos, the observable sky will have much less stars to see. Primarily, faint galaxies will only be visible with mainly dark matter and dark energy filling all the voids with darkness. In 1025 years, the best of telescopes could perhaps depict faint outlines of far distant galaxies where darkness mostly envelops all. By 10100 years, even subatomic particles have played out, black holes as heavy as galaxies have flashed out with no visible signs of radiation anywhere. As far as we know, only dark energy and dark matter are all that will eternally remain of the universe.

Our solar system did not form on its own, nor did it just come into being from the aid of some deified hand. It was manufactured from distant sources. We know our solar system derived from second or third generation material, for as you may recall, once a star’s nuclear furnace has kicked in, newer and heavier elements are only formed in succession over time as the star increases in heat and pressure. Here on Earth exist elements such as gold, mercury and lead…materials that had to be produced by a former star that exploded and spewed out its material into the cosmos. As explained above that star was a supernova.

The blast from the supernova explosion sent material composed primarily of gas with detectable solids far out into the reaches of interstellar space forming a solar cloud nebula. Due to the supernova’s shock wave the gas and dust particle cloud was disturbed. This disturbance caused the cloud to begin collapsing under its initial trivial gravity.

Solar System Accretion

This initial collapse, which is the birth of our solar system, took up some 100,000 years. The center of the compression maintains enough accumulating heat and pressure to form a protostar. The contained solid dust within the compression is vaporized and it, along with the gases near the compression center began flowing inwards adding more mass to the protostar. As the material is flowing inwards, it does so in a rotating movement about the center creating an accretion disk. In turn, centrifugal forces from the accretion disk prevent more outward material from being pulled in and are radiated outwards.

The material radiated away cools off enough to condense out into solid particles such as dust, ice, rock and metal. This material will be the building blocks for planet formation. According to isotope measurements of metal and rock meteors, this condensation occurred 4.5-4.6 billion years ago (bya) for metal and a bit later for rock between 4.4 and 4.5 bya. Dust particles had to collide and adhere to one another, which took a little more time, forming rock from pebble to boulder size.

Meanwhile the protostar has accumulated enough material that it reaches critical mass density and under the extreme heat and pressure nuclear fusion is ignited kicking off the proton-proton nuclear chain reaction. Thus, the star we call our sun is born.

Proto Stage

Outside the gravitational pull of the sun, the left over particles begin flying into one another and accreting. Larger formations begin having a consequential gravitational pull, bringing in even more material. Accelerated growths of the larger masses begin pulling other large but smaller masses. Some of the midsized masses are able to divert incorporation into contiguous larger masses due to distance, but are still affected by their larger neighbors gravitational pull. They will later become moons.

As accretion is taking place, the sun begins generating solar winds strong enough that it sweeps away all remaining free nebula gases. The inner accretions have no gases to build with so are composed of solids. The outer accretions, at a much greater distance from the sun, had enough time to gorge on surrounding nebular gases before the solar winds swept through with less intensity. The outpost accretions furthest from the sun, therefore with the least amount of solar influence accreted with solids, ice and frozen gases.

During the accretion harvesting, initial adherence was influenced by Brownian motion via turbulent gases causing particles to stick to one another. Once large enough, the gravitational pull created collisions and annealment. Some of the smaller bodies of material were actually torn apart from the violent gravitational collisions.

These accretions as they were building were known as protoplanets. Once most of the free nearby debris was recycled into building material, protoplanets became planets and satellites (moons) we are now familiar with. Planetesimals, which are accreting very slowly for various reasons due to surrounding conditions, are still in a protoplanetary disk stage. Within the sun’s influence from its atmosphere to the outer reaches of the Oort cloud, leftover debris still abounds from grain to asteroidal in size.

The Formed Solar System

Our solar system had arrived. No more than a hundred million years from the sun’s inception, nine or so planets stabilize and begin orbiting the sun in an ordered path. Still though, planet surfaces were and are to be further modified by a last big collision with another remnant object.

The captured satellites orbit the planets as moons. Satellites could be planetesimals, or captured material that accreted from a former collision of the planet affecting it with another large celestial object that plowed into the palnet.

End of Phase I:
In brief and an undetailed format, we covered the evolution of the universe. Due to having to write a book to detail this paper, there was no mention of the Grand Unification & Electroweak Epochs, Baryogenesis or prior decoupling before the Dark Age. If further interests were stirred, you can easily access these early universe events in your local libraries or the internet. Later on in a second phase we’ll course through the evolution of Earth consisting of its physical evolvement and in a final third phase its biological evolvement.

To be continued…

In Knowing the Unknown,
We are that Miniscule Part of the Universe Trying to Comprehend Itself.