DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Universe history. Artwork showing the history of the Universe, from its creation (Big Bang), to the present (upper right). Time began about 15 billion years ago when a huge explosion created all the universe's mass at a single point (black). The uni- verse grew rapidly (inflation) in the first thous- and billionth of a second (widening yellow area). It then expanded more slowly and cooled, allowing nucleon particles (orange) to form at one hundred thousandth of a second. Some of these combined to form atomic nuclei at 100 seconds (dark orange) which then formed stars. At 300,000 years (black) the universe became transparent to the background radiation left over from the Big Bang.
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