Microsoft Encarta Interactive World Atlas, Contributing Editors: Harold Morowitz, George Mason University and Paul Ceruzzi, Smithsonian Institution (Routledge: New York, London), 2001
“World: Origins – The Sun, the Earth,and the other planets
“Scientists believe that about 4.7 billion years ago, a swirling interstellar cloud of gas and dust began to fragment and form clusters that eventually coalesced into the Sun, the Earth, and the other planets. … About 3.5 billion years ago, conditions developed in which it was possible for life to emerge. The world’s oceans and atmosphere, affected by the proliferation and evolution of early life-forms, underwent major transformations, many of which would later enable the evolution of higher life-forms. Since then, life has evolved from simple single-celled organisms into the microorganisms, insects, plants, and animals we know today. A
[Paleonthropologists estimate that the first modern members of our species, homo sapiens] appeared 100,000 years ago in southeastern Africa
The sudden beginning of the universe and of every star and every plane and the formation of the sun,the earth, the moon, and humans; and and every living creature in the universe
20 billion years is the age of the universe
4. Robert Jastrow, in The Enchanted Loom (Simon And Schuster: New York), 1981, in Chapter 1: “Across The Threshold Of Life,” discussed the formation of the sun, earth, moon, and humans; and the sudden beginning of the universe and of every star, every planet and every living creature in the universe stating:
“Scientific discoveries of the last decades have created a new explanation for the appearance of man on the earth. In the scientist’s version of genesis, as in the Bible, the world begins with the dazzling splendor of the moment of creation. A few astronomers could have anticipated that this event – the sudden birth of the universe – would become a proven scientific fact, but observations of the heavens through telescopes have forced them to that conclusion.
“The first scientific indication of an abrupt beginning for the world appeared about fifty years ago. At that time, American astronomers, studying the great clusters of stars called galaxies, stumbled on evidence that the entire universe is blowing up before our eyes. According to their observations, all the galaxies in the universe are moving away From us and from one another at very high speeds, and the most distant are receding at extraordinary speeds of hundreds of millions of miles an hour.
The birth of the universe:
“This discovery led directly to the picture of a sudden beginning for the universe; for if we retrace the movements of the expanding galaxies backward in time, we find that at an earlier time they must have been closer together than they are today; at a still earlier time, they must have been still closer together; and if we go back far enough in time, we find that at a certain critical moment in the past, all the galaxies in the universe were packed together into one dense mass, at an enormous pressure and temperature.
“Reacting to this pressure, the dense, hot matter must have exploded with incredible violence. The instant of the explosion marked the birth of the universe. The seed of everything that has happened in the universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion. It was literally the moment of creation.
“When did it happen? When did the universe explode into being? Calculations based on the present positions of galaxies show that this great event occurred twenty billion years ago. Twenty billion years is the age of the universe, according to the astronomers. This is a very long time.