Big Bang

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

DESI will analyze light collected by the four-meter Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

New Project Aims to Create Most Detailed 3-D Map of the Universe

An instrument named “DESI” will chart up to 40 million galaxies, ten times more than any previous survey

Astronomers have discovered the oldest and most distant quasar in the universe. The quasar, named J0313-1806, formed just 670 million years after the Big Bang some 13 billion light years away.

New Research

This 13-Billion-Year-Old Supermassive Black Hole Is the Oldest Ever Found

Huge black hole is so old it offers a glimpse into the early universe, and so big it challenges ideas of how black holes form

A Japanese space capsule seen falling back to Earth over Australia. The capsule, released from the JAXA space probe Hayabusa2, contains samples of an asteroid called Ryugu that is located roughly 180 million miles from our planet.

Japan Retrieves Space Capsule Full of Asteroid Samples in Australia

The successful landing marks the completion of Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission, which studied the 3,000-foot-wide asteroid Ryugu

The goal, Ruth Jarman says, is to “transcend the data so that it becomes something else"

Art Meets Science

'HALO' Makes Art Out of Subatomic Particle Collisions at Art Basel

The site-specific installation by British artist duo Semiconductor revisits the universe’s first moments

The Small Magellanic Cloud, where some of your atoms likely originate

New Research

Half of Our Atoms May Come From Other Galaxies

According to computer simulations, large galaxies may grow by sucking in matter smaller star clusters expel

New Research

Was the Speed of Light Even Faster in the Early Universe?

Physicists propose a way to test if light exceeded Einstein's constant just after the Big Bang

LIGO's founding fathers, from left: Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish. Not pictured: Ronald Drever

American Ingenuity Awards

Meet the Team of Scientists Who Discovered Gravitational Waves

This year, the geniuses behind LIGO announced that they had finally found what Albert Einstein had predicted a century ago

Galaxy GN-z11 seen in its youth by the Hubble telescope. GN-z11 is shown as it existed 13.4 billion years in the past, just 400 million years after the Big Bang.

Life in the Cosmos

If Telescopes Are Time Machines, the JWST Will Take Us the Furthest Back Yet

The James Webb Space Telescope promises to peer back into the making of the first galaxies

This image was taken inside the Large Hadron Collider just a few months before its launch in 2008.


Inside the Atom Smasher at CERN

What you can see on a tour of the largest particle collider in the world

New Research

The Universe’s Oldest Stars Likely Lit Up Way Later Than Once Thought

Data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope indicates that the universe was dark for about 550 million years after the big bang

The sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole.

Nope, We Have Not Detected Gravitational Waves (Yet)

Leaked news from teams studying the early universe says the signal hailed as our first peek at space-time ripples really is just dust

Trending Today

The Pope Would Like You to Accept Evolution and the Big Bang

The Roman Catholic Church is pro-evolution and Big Bang, but with a twist

Cyclists Inspecting Ancient Petroglyphs, Utah, 1998: Texas-based photographer Terry Falke captures several of the exhibition's themes in this image of cyclists examining petroglyphs and bullet holes in a stratified rock face by the side of the road in Utah. "You’ve got the ultimate strata, which is man-made, so the idea is that we are impacting, we’re leaving our mark on the Earth over time as well," says Talasek.


What Does "Deep Time" Mean to You?

An art exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences offers perspective on our geological past and future

Less than a mile from the South Pole, the Dark Sector Lab’s Bicep2 telescope (at left) searches for signs of inflation.

Listening to the Big Bang

Just-reported ripples in space may open a window on the very beginning of the universe

An artist's rendering of the Big Bang.

New Research

A New Cosmic Discovery Could Be The Closest We’ve Come to the Beginning of Time

Scientists detect the signature of gravitational waves generated in the first moments of the Big Bang

A pigeon trap, on view at the Air and Space Museum, used by Nobel Prize winners Penzias and Wilson to remove the birds roosting in the radio antenna's large horn.

Think Big

How Two Pigeons Helped Scientists Confirm the Big Bang Theory

For decades, astronomers had debated how the universe began. Then, in 1964, they had their "Eureka!" moment

An artist's rendition of the Big Bang.

What Astronomers Are Still Discovering About the Big Bang Theory

A half-century after it was confirmed, the theory still yields new secrets

loading icon