Using radio telescopes at the South Pole scientists from Harvard, the University of Minnesota, California Institute of Technology and Stanford are supposed to have looked far enough back in time to determine that there was in fact a big bang as we understand it. Supposedly they were able to make this determination by actually detecting (previously only theorized) gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background of the universe as it existed at the dawn of time. (This would constitute smoking gun evidence of a big bang as we understand it because the existence of such waves would imply an historical inflation of the universe consistent with the Big Bang theory.) Other scientists are saying that, if valid, the work would represent one of the most significant and meaningful accomplishments of science. Per the article:
.... Radio astronomers reported that they had seen the beginning of the Big Bang, and that his (Dr. Guth's)hypothesis, known undramatically as inflation, looked right....If corroborated, Dr. Kovac’s work will stand as a landmark in science comparable to the recent discovery of dark energy pushing the universe apart, or of the Big Bang itself. It would open vast realms of time and space and energy to science and speculation....Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University, an early-universe expert who was not part of the team, said, “This is huge, as big as it gets.” He continued, “This is a signal from the very earliest universe, sending a telegram encoded in gravitational waves....Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at M.I.T., wrote in an email, “I think that if this stays true, it will go down as one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science.” ....”Dr. Kovac said the chance that the results were a fluke was only one in 10 million. Dr. Guth, now 67, pronounced himself “bowled over,” saying he had not expected such a definite confirmation in his lifetime....
There is, however, reason to exercise caution about the findings. Per the article:
Lawrence M. Krauss of Arizona State and others also emphasized the need for confirmation, noting that the new results exceeded earlier estimates based on temperature maps of the cosmic background by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite and other assumptions about the universe. “So we will need to wait and see before we jump up and down,” Dr. Krauss said.
Update: Several scientists are now saying that there is an alternative explanation for the gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background of the universe. They are saying that instead of proving the big bang it is possible that the gravitational waves were created from an event that took place slightly after the beginning of the inflationary period of the universe. Per the article:
....Although this critical point phase change across the entire Universe was of a lower energy than the inflationary period that came before it, Dent and co. theorize that it would have created a violent ripple that could have spawned the gravitational waves that BICEP2 is now observing in the CMB.
The South Pole, eh? I wonder if this is the product of that new Chilean radio telescope array I saw a story about on 60 Minutes not that long ago. If so, this is one hell of a feather in their caps!
I will bet ALMA is involved! How exciting, all this new discovery and I remember the first light bulb going into my grandparent's home, and the first toilet and telephone, OOOOOO! I have seen it all.
John included this site, Space Ripples Seen as Big Bang’s Smoking Gun with an illustration:
"FLUCTUATION Astronomers have now detected evidence of these ancient fluctuations in swirls of polarized light in the cosmic background radiation, which is energy left over from the early universe. These are gravitational waves predicted by Einstein."
Nope, the South Pole telescope did the looking and just look at what they used, South Pole BICEP-2 Telescope:
"UPDATE MARCH 17: All the rumors were true. The story below was written yesterday, before today's announcement that the fingerprints of inflation have been found in the cosmic microwave background. Read the full account of today's announcement here."
And what they found:
Oh! Great! An exciting prospect to follow. Thanks billions and billions!
I am reposting on Twitter, may I attribute you as the source?
I'd like to see them reconcile it to the Book of Genesis.
I'm still waiting for anyone to square reality with the Book of Genesis.
Oh, *bleep* they are still trying to square the circle, and make Pi equal three (because that's what some primitive priests...who never heard of decimals, said it was, and wrote it in the buybull.)
The only way anyone can square a circle is with a piece of string. Squaring reality with the myths in Genesis is impossible. Noah's "flood" is a joke to anyone who has had to feed and scoop litter boxes for 60 cats in three hours. (Been there, done that, once... and that's enough for one lifetime.)
Hell, the apologists have incorporated the Big Bang Theory into their cosmological arguments for decades. Their inanity isn't going to be held up by something as silly and inconsequential as argument coherency. I've seen fucking young-Earth creationists include the Big Bang Theory in their arguments.