Chronology of the universe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The chronology of the universe describes the history and future of the universe according to Big Bang cosmology. The metric expansion of space is estimated to have begun 13.8 billion years ago. The time since the Big Bang is also known as cosmic time. For the purposes of this summary, it is convenient to divide the chronology of the universe into four parts:

  1. The very early universe, from the Planck epoch until the cosmic inflation, or the first picosecond of cosmic time; this period is the domain of active theoretical research, currently beyond the grasp of most experiments in particle physics.
  2. The early universe, from the Quark epoch to the Photon epoch, or the first 380,000 years of cosmic time, when the familiar forces and elementary particles have emerged but the universe remains in the state of a plasma, followed by the "Dark Ages", from 380,000 years to about 150 million years during which the universe was transparent but no large-scale structures had yet formed.
  3. The period of large-scale structure formation, including stellar evolution, galaxy formation and evolution and the formation of galaxy clusters and superclusters, from about 150 million years to present, and prospectively until about 100 billion years of cosmic time; The thin disk of our galaxy began to form at about 5 billion years. The solar system formed at about 4.6 billion years ago, with the earliest traces of life on Earth emerging by about 3.5 billion years ago.
  4. The far future, after cessation of stellar formation, with various scenarios for the ultimate fate of the universe.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Chronology of the universe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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