We have entered a new age of exploration and discovery, enabling us to probe ever more distant reaches of space and greatly advance our knowledge of the Universe. Today, telescopes peer not only into outer space, but also into the deep past.
Paul Murdin takes us on an original and breathtaking journey across the lifetime of the Universe, from the first milliseconds of the Big Bang right up to our present moment and even beyond. Murdin draws on the latest discoveries in astronomy to describe the most important characters and events in the life of our Universe: the most powerful explosions, the most curious planets, and the most spectacular celestial bodies. He charts our developing understanding of the cosmos, showing how thinkers have deduced profound truths from even the simplest observations – everyone can see that it is dark at night, but only recently have we understood this as proof that the Universe has not been the same forever. Since then, the Universe has grown up from childhood: astronomers have tracked it as it passed through maturity and as it now moves into middle age.
Murdin shows how our own lives were seeded from the Big Bang, galaxies, stars and planets. He considers some of the key questions: how did structures like galaxies and ourselves emerge from the dense maelstrom of the Universe’s birth? How did the ‘dark matter’ that we can’t even see speed up the development of galaxies, and how does ‘dark energy’ work to speed up the expansion of the Universe? Why hasn’t the Universe collapsed in on itself – and will it one day? And finally, he offers a glimpse into the future old age of our Universe, and what it means for us all.