On March 17, 2014 scientists announced the first direct detection of the cosmic inflation behind the rapid expansion of the universe just a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. A key piece of the discovery is the evidence of gravitational waves, a long-sought cosmic phenomenon that has eluded astronomers until now.

Main Story: Major Discovery: 'Smoking Gun' for Universe's Incredible Big Bang Expansion Found
Astronomers have found the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation, the theorized dramatic expansion of the universe that put the "bang" in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, new research suggests. [Photos and Images: Cosmic inflation and gravitational wave discovery illustrated]

Scroll down to see Space.com's complete coverage of the major discovery on cosmic inflation and the history of the universe:

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Wednesday, March 19

5 Reasons to Care About New Big Bang Inflation Theory Discovery
Here are the reasons you should care about the new cosmic inflation and gravitational waves findings announced Monday (March 17).

What Is the Big Bang Theory?
The Big Bang Theory is the leading explanation about how the universe began. At its simplest, it talks about the universe as we know it starting with a small singularity, then inflating over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today.

Tuesday, March 18

Freaky Physics: Why the Discovery of Gravitational Waves Should Blow Your Mind
If you had held out some hope that the universe's first few moments would be easy to understand or visualize, consider your bubble officially burst.

Our Universe May Exist in a Multiverse, Cosmic Inflation Discovery Suggests
The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation — a period of rapid expansion that occurred a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — also supports the idea that our universe is just one of many out there, researchers say.

Monday, March 17

Major Discovery: 'Smoking Gun' for Universe's Incredible Big Bang Expansion Found
Astronomers have found the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation, the theorized dramatic expansion of the universe that put the "bang" in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, new research suggests.

How Space Tech Helped Scientists ID Gravitational Waves from Big Bang Inflation
Discovering the first direct evidence of the universe's incredible post-Big Bang expansion wasn't easy, requiring the development of new technologies and a long working stint at the bottom of the world.

Cosmic Inflation Theory Confirmed? Q&A with Robert Wilson, Co-Discoverer of Big Bang Echo
Nobel laureate Robert Wilson talks about the apparent detection of gravitational wave signatures in the cosmic microwave background radiation, as well as what it was like to spot the CMB in 1964, putting the Big Bang theory on solid ground.

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