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It is the entirety of time, space, matter and energy that began expanding some 13.8 billion years ago and has continued to expand ever since.
No one is entirely certain how extensive the Universe truly is, and no one is entirely sure how it will all end.
the “Inflation” Epoch) that resolved other theoretical problems.
The 1990s also saw the rise of Dark Energy as an attempt to resolve outstanding issues in cosmology.
In addition, papers submitted by Stephen Hawking and other physicists showed that singularities were an inevitable initial condition of general relativity and a Big Bang model of cosmology.
In 1981, physicist Alan Guth theorized a period of rapid cosmic expansion (aka.
In addition to providing an explanation as to the Universe’s missing mass (along with Dark Matter) it also provided an explanation as to why the Universe is still accelerating, and offered a resolution to Einstein’s Cosmological Constant.
This has in turn helped them to gain a better understanding of its true age, and make more precise calculations of its matter-energy density.
The introduction of space telescopes – such as the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Hubble Space Telescope, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the Planck Observatory – has also been of immeasurable value.
These have not only allowed for deeper views of the cosmos, but allowed astronomers to test theoretical models to observations.
In terms of time and space, it is unfathomably large (and possibly even infinite) and incredibly old by human standards.
No matter what angle one took to answer that question, one could spend years answering that question and still barely scratch the surface.