Hello, friends. Welcome to another post of the scientific revelation where we will discuss the matter formation and celestial engineering. In the previous posts, after the bang of the big bang, Inflationary cosmology, and the fundamental forces of nature we have discussed how the universe started and inflation made it grow; and how fundamental particles and forces had shaped our cosmos in the way it is today. In this post, we will focus our loci of focus on matter formation and grand engineering of the universe.
At the time of the big bang, it was all plasma of energy and radiation. There was no coherent matter after the big bang because the temperature was astronomically high for anything. All four fundamental forces were one grand force. As the temperature cooled due to expansion grand engineering begun.
After the big bang (which is no more considered an explosion and start of time) energy and radiation came into existence. We think that it was more likely a soup/plasma type of condition in the early universe. With the ongoing expansion as surface area increased not only radiation and energy expanded but also cooled. The universe keeps on getting older and matte, galactic clouds, tars, black holes, galaxies, and planets keep on forming with time. Read the article Origin by CERN to understand more about the Big Bang.
If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations.
The standard model of particles
No discussion of matter formation can be done without a standard model of matter. According to the standard model, we have quarks, leptons, and neutrinos as the most basic subatomic particles. Quarks make protons and neutrons. Two up quarks plus one bottom and two bottom plus one up quark in protons and neutrons respectively. Up until now, we have only observed up and bottom quarks in nature. All the structure and masses of the universe are only made up of up and bottom quark so, the role of the rest of the quarks top, down, strange, charm is still a mystery.
Leptons are another group of subatomic particles including electrons, muon, and tau. Then we have neutrinos, which are nonreactive particles. They seldom interact with each other and other particles around them that’s why they have not yet observed in nature. They were proved to exist by the Large hadron collider experiment. Neutrinos are of 3 types; electron neutrino, muon neutrino, and tau neutrino. Then we have force-carrying particles. Photons are carriers of electromagnetic force and they move between electrons and nuclei. Photons are a small bundle of light they explain the particle nature of light. Gluons carry the strong nuclear force and keep protons and neutrons intact in nuclei. The weak nuclear force is carried out by 3 bosons Z naught, W plus, and W minus.
The charges in P+ and N0
The difference e between up and down quark is very subtle. The down quark is heavier with 4.8 MeV in comparison to 2.4 of an up quark. The charge is also different in both of the quarks. Up quark has 2/3 of the standard charge/proton charge and down quark has -1/3 of the charge.
If you do the calculation for proton then it is
For neutron it is
In 2013 scientists first found the evidence of the Higgs field. It is a recent addition in standard and has high implications. Most of the mass/ or you can say weight in your body is not due to atom or electron and proton (quarks). It only covers a 1% mass of our body. As you know atom is 99% empty space. Most of the mass of anybody is due to the kinetic and binding energy of those quarks in P and N.
Quantum field theory says that particles should not have mass and time clock. That means for the time is frozen but experimentally we have found a mass in many subatomic particles. For example, electrons have mass and we have directly measured it. But if we talk about photons they are surely massless and they do not change their spin in between intervals. So why there is such a difference between the behavior of both of the particles? To understand it better in simple words let us just say that the photons can cross the entire universe without colliding with anything that can lower its speed. But there is something in the space that can lower the speed of electrons. The answer is the Higgs field. We think this kind of quantum field exists in the empty universe.
In 2014 scientists have found some evidence of Higgs particles that means filed should be out there in the universe.
The timeline of matter formation
we will walk through the timeline of how matter formation had happened in the universe from the subatomic particles to steller objects. If we go back in time around we can see everything is coming together in reverse mode. If we go back to almost 42k years after the big bang we can see recombination and CMBR. We can go to just after the big bang to understand matter formation and celestial engineering. Watch to get a viewpoint on how the first matter formed.
One microsecond after the big bang-Quark soup
Inflation had already happened before this time because it was the first event in our universe starting just after the big bang. The temperature at that time was around 10. Trillion k. At that time quarks were free and photons were in such high energy due to temperature, that they could create quark-antiquark pairs and electron-positron pairs. In the same way, if these particle-antiparticle pairs could come in contact they annihilate each other in a burst of light. It was hard to avoid each other as everything was very closely packed so It was kind of balance between all the particles of the universe.
After one microsecond
After when the temperature cools down this balance/equilibrium reaction stooped. At that time due to some reasons which are no understood well quarks overpower anti quarks means particle were more than anti-particle. Matter overpowers antimatter. Now the quarks combined together to form hadrons mean neutrons and protons. All of the structures in the universe are made out of hadrons from this time in the early universe.
At 0.01-second temperature dropped and now hadrons can exist free from photons. Neutron and protons were able to stabilize slowed down because electrons had less mass they were light enough to interact with the photons and keep up with the activity.
The temperature was below 10 billion k and it was cool enough that neutrino break free from the cosmic soup of particles. From the start, they were very nonreactive barely reacting among themselves and with each other. Scientists had predicted cosmic neutrino background which had not observed yet. If it will be discovered we can see before CMBR into the earliest time of the universe.
In this era, free neutrons that are not with protons started to decay protons and neutrinos. In the end, we had 1 neutron for every 5 protons.
3 minutes- Nucleosynthesis
When 3 minutes passed temperature dropped even more around one billion degrees which were optimal for nuclear fusion to start. Now protons and neutrons were sticking together to form deuterium which then was quickly converting into a helium atom. If we go back in time when the universe was 3 minutes old its temperature was very similar to the core of our sun(15 million kelvin). At this temperature, hydrogen can convert into helium.
We see this process all the time and direct evidence of it. The process of helium synthesis is fairly simple. We have our simple hydrogen atom that has 1 proton and 1 electron. Then we have one neutron combines with it and make a deuterium atom. When this deuterium combines with another proton it produces the light helium particle. Two light helium or helium after combining with another neutron produces a normal/generally found helium atom. There is one thing to be noted.
Deuterium was the important step because it was easier from helium to go to deuterium and it was easier from here to form a helium atom. On the top of that deuterium can not be produced inside a star core like other metal so whatever deuterium we have is leftover from the big bang before it got converted into helium. Deuterium in space is primordial. The percentage of helium confirmed our speculation of Nucleosynthesis.
When Nucleosynthesis was over we had 75% hydrogen and 25% helium. We also got small traces of lithium, beryllium, and boron, and deuterium. So this process went for a while until the universe got cold and nucleosynthesis stopped.
The universe remains inactive for a long time until the temperature dropped below 300k. In this dense cosmic soup, nothing was visible. Photons could not travel far enough before they bumped into other particles and get absorbed them. As the universe keeps spreading and cooling the temperature of the entire system dropped considerably for the epoch of Recombination.
Epoch of recombination
Recombination is commonly known as CMBR when after 300,000-years electron finally combined with nuclei to give way to the photons to travel wide and free. The temperature was below 3000 k. Photons were not hindering the photon travel.
There is a point to be noted. After everything means Nucleosynthesis and recombination we got 1 helium atom for every 4 hydrogen atom and 1 deuterium for every 100 hydrogen atom. Although due to the battle between matter and antimatter most of the matter and almost every antimatter was annihilated. We have such a lower quantity of matter and antimatter but a high quantity of photons because photons were not destroyed by their anti counterparts. We have over 10 billion photons for every particle that exists in the universe. It is quite a high amount. We have tested and confirmed it.
The dark ages
For a long time after the recombination, there was no light. The matter was Cooling off and getting contracted and making structures. It was more like the silent work of gravity. The extended and sparse hydrogen and helium gases clumped together making small groups (not very small actually). These groups keep on mixing and breaking before Turning into galaxy and galaxy clusters.
The emergence of STARS
From 300 to 700 years after CMBR temperature dropped considerably (30 k) for and the triggered the galaxy formation. During this time the first generation of stars formed lighting the whole universe.
Star formation along with all the mega structures of the universe happened due to gravity. It starts with a gas cloud getting contracted into smaller spaces. The gas clouds of hydrogen have a neutral hydrogen molecule that is moving. As you know the formation of the galaxy is the same as star formation( The center of the galaxy starts moving and contracting to attract nearby matter and making the disc shape and whole arms of hydrogen clouds start moving in an orbit around the center of the galaxy). Hydrogen molecules keep on moving for the star formation.
Cloud has mass it can stumble to gravity but because of the constant motion of gas-particle, it keeps on moving and repel gravity. Let just say molecules are more or less evenly distributed so gravity cannot work much. Now because of some causes like a supernovae explosion or the birth of a new star in a nearby area, galactic winds produced that made the heavy movement in gas clouds. Because of this movement, the almost perfect configuration of gas clouds got disturbed. Someplace suddenly got more density than others and it started the magic of gravity.
Protostars and circumstellar discs
After the aggregation star formation began. Due to the clumps of gases gravity could overpower the pressure/ movement of molecules. The small dense areas/clumps gained more and more mass and essentially became protostars. At the start, it was like a rotating cloud kind of ball but as more mass started contracting it increased the rotation that flattened out the disk and made it more like a plane.
Stars normally form two circumstellar discs around them. The inner one is the accretion disc that feeds the stars and the outer one is the protoplanetary disc that gives rise to planets. When the protostar is ready due to constant contraction, temperature increases enough to kick start the fusion process that causes hydrogen to turn into helium. This fusion would cause a heavy and powerful galactic wave that will blow away surrounding gas and rocks along with producing light and radiation. On the way of blowing away, these gas and space rocks can collide with each other and clump together to make rock or gaseous spheres that we very proudly call planets.
A detailed post on star formation by Hubble space telescope.
The emergence of galaxies
The first stars had lit and marked the beginning of the stelliferous era. When these massive stars were exploded in supernovae heavier elements were distributed in the universe. With the help of dark matter, these clouds and now stars were coming into some kind of shape. Some experts think that the first true galaxies were formed 4 million after the big bang. GNZ-11 is holding the title of the oldest galaxy now. 13.8 billion years before our universe formed. First galaxies were small with a bunch of thousands of stars but their successors were spiral galaxies. They were born after galaxy colliding and held by supermassive black holes in their center. Now 13.8 billion years after our universe is expanding and growing. Galaxies are moving back and forth, colliding and separating from each other.
Resources to look for:
- watch Black body radiation and the early history of the universe- part 3.
- watch how was the first matter created?
- Read a fantastic post by space.com on expanding universe and matter formation.
- Read the first stars in the universe by scientific American to understand more about dark ages and star formation.
- A very detailed post on big bang cosmology and extension of the universe by phys.org.
We will discuss more on the stelliferous era and star formation in the next post until then stay curious and do revelation.
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and hold onto that childlike wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.