Cosmologists may have found evidence that the Big Bang that occurred 13.7 billion years ago was not the first. The researchers examined nearly 11,000 locations in the Wilkinson Microwave Background Probe's (WMAP) cosmic microwave background data to detect locations where vast galaxies circling one another may once have collided. Twelve concentric circles were found, some of which have five rings, possibly meaning the same object has had five massive events through the course of history.
Shaun Cole of the University of Durham's computational cosmology group, called the research "impressive". "It's a revolutionary theory and here there appears to be some data that supports it," he told BBC News.
"In the standard Big Bang model, there's nothing cyclic; it has a beginning and it has no end.
"The philosophical question that's sensible to ask is 'what came before the Big Bang?'; and what they're striving for here is to do away with that 'there's nothing before' answer by making it cyclical."
Professor Cole said he was surprised that the statistical variation in the microwave background data was the most obvious signature of what could be such a revolutionary idea, however.