I apologize for the horrible question title. I'll try to explain and someone can edit it. I am thinking of the explosion of the Big Bang in terms of the explosion of C-4. Once the C-4 is detonated, it rapidly sublimates (turns from the solid to a gas) into a rapidly expanding mass of gas. This causes the atmosphere to compress and expand outward, called the shockwave. Now, the shockwave doesn't start at max speed. It starts slow, then builds to its max, and then fades.

So, my question is, how do we determine if the accelerating of the expansion of the Universe is a result of us happening to find ourselves living in that early phase of the building shockwave?

  • $\begingroup$ The Big Bang wasn't an explosion that happened at a point $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Dec 27 '18 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie I'm in the middle of reading the answer you posted, but something that just popped into my head, if inflation is real, then that means the expansion accelerated and then slowed, and so we couldn't be on the upswing of the initial expansion. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy G. Dec 27 '18 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ If inflation happened then it only lasted $10^{-32}$ seconds. Many people define the Big Bang as the moment inflation stopped. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Dec 27 '18 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie you seem like you could answer this one quickly: Is it possible dark energy is residual inflation? $\endgroup$ – Jimmy G. Dec 27 '18 at 6:21
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    $\begingroup$ They consider the result of inflation to be the Big Bang. Though personally I still reserve the term Big Bang to mean time zero i.e. before inflation. As for whether dark energy is residual inflation, the trouble is that we don't know what caused inflation and we don't know what causes dark energy. They might be different aspects of the same physics or they could be completely unrelated. We simply don't know. However the energy density during inflation and the energy density of dark energy are so vastly different it's hard to see any simple relationship between them. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Dec 27 '18 at 6:26

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