I believe the big bang theory to provide the most logical explanation for the formation of our solar system…......... HOWEVER - the origin of that initial matter is impossible to explain.
Does anyone think we will ever discover how the first form of matter came in to existence?
Oh man, even trying to come up with explanations trips me out.
A correction: the Big Bang explains the beginning of our universe, not the formation of our solar system. We are gaining a pretty decent understanding of how solar systems form, and will gain greater understanding as scientists crunch the data the Kepler satellite is downloading.
There are many mathematical theories of what may have existed before the BB, but they are all untestable at present. We may never know the origin of the initial mass (it was not matter as we know it). No previous information survived the cosmic expansion due to the extreme heat and pressure involved. How extreme? Extreme enough that spacetime itself expanded much faster than the speed of light. I checked my notes from last semester to get the exact figures. The universe expanded to larger than our solar system in the first 10^-43 second after the BB. Because there is no outside to our universe the only way the universe could cool was through expansion. After three minutes baryonic matter began to form, and the universe was one billion Kelvin. At this time the universe consisted mainly of hydrogen and free neutrons. At this point the universe was cool enough for deuterium, helium and lithium to form. After about 15 minutes the universe was too cool for nuclear fusion, and matter stopped forming*. The Electromagnetic Force ruled the universe for the next 50,000 years, when it became cool enough for electrons to join atomic nuclei, at which time the universe was still about 16 million Kelvin and atomic fusion restarted. After 200 million years the universe cooled to about 60 Kelvin and atoms began to form together in clumps. For the next three billion years the first stars and galaxies formed.
*This means the universe had a 12 minute window to form particles of matter, and the early universe consisted of about 90 percent hydrogen, 10 percent helium and a trace of lithium, but mostly energy.
As for the expansion rate of the universe, two teams working independently in 1998 used Hubble Space Telescope observations to measure the expansion rate. Much to their surprise they found the expansion rate is accelerating. No one predicted this, and scientists still have no idea what is causing the acceleration. They dubbed the mechanism Dark Energy as placeholder while they work on the problem. Computer simulations and observations reveal that Dark Energy comprises 70 percent of the universe, Dark Matter 26 percent, and what we know as normal matter only four percent.
Edit: I went back to my notes from last semester and corrected the timeline for the Big Bang