The mystery about the Big Bang that continues to elude physicists

A team of scientists is searching for primordial gravitational waves that should have left a footprint in the sky. So far, searches in this direction have failed.

The universe originated from the Big Bang that supposedly took place 13 billion years ago. However, the theory has limitations, according to astronomers the ripples in space-time should have left special marks in the sky, but searches in this direction have so far failed. Recently, a team known as the BICEP/Keck collaboration, published the latest results on their hunt for these "promordial gravitational waves" concluding that if an expanding universe reflected gravitational waves, it must have done so in a very subtle way.

What continues to elude physicists about the Big Bang

The theory so far believed to be correct about the birth of the cosmos explains what astronomers see when they study the large-scale patterns formed by matter and dark matter. However, a detail about the fabric of space-time that cannot remain perfectly still on a quantum scale still eludes. The ultra-high-speed expansion of the universe during the Big Bang should have stretched the initial tremors into primordial gravitational waves, but these have not been detected so far.

The BICEP/Keck team's research

According to the BICEP/Keck group, primordial gravitational waves would have left faint fingerprints in the cosmos, namely specific vortices in light known as "B-mode polarization." Today, with new technologies, astronomers would have the ability to detect these vortices directly, although they have not yet found any. The BICEP/Keck collaboration has spent years refining their methods and building a series of telescopes at the South Pole, and their results have combined data from the last three generations of Antarctic telescopes with other experiments, but the information so far has not yet yielded the answers they hoped for. However, the nearly one hundred BICEP/Keck members are continuing to refine their technologies with the goal of detecting these first gravitational waves.

Scientists are hopeful for the success of the research, although there is still much work to be done. About the universe and its origin, mysteries still remain various. Meanwhile, an astrophysicist is recreating galaxies to better understand the cosmos, while a spiral galaxy older than the Milky Way was discovered that would have formed as early as 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang.

Stefania Bernardini