In a landmark discovery, direct evidence from the dawn of the universe has – for the first time – been discovered. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the first direct evidence of gravitational waves. They examined the CMB (cosmic microwave background) radiation and found a faint but distinctive curling pattern. This pattern is thought to have been generated by gravitational waves when the universe inflated – a fraction of a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
Cosmic inflation refers to a kind of repulsive gravity that pushes things apart rather than pulling them together. The CMB refers to the farthest and earliest thing anyone can see – it’s like a horizon at the edge of the observable universe.
To understand cosmic inflation and gravitational waves further, read the infographics below.
Infographics created by Karl Tate at Space.com