London, June 7 : By studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB), a team of physicists has claimed that time might have existed even before the Big Bang in the Universe.
According to a BBC report, CMB is the light emitted when the universe was just 400,000 years old, and is regarded as the most conclusive evidence for the Big Bang.
Although this microwave background is mostly smooth, the Cobe satellite in 1992 discovered small fluctuations that were believed to be the seeds from which the galaxy clusters we see in today's Universe grew.
Dr Adrienne Erickcek, and colleagues from the California Institute for Technology (Caltech), now believes these fluctuations contain hints that our Universe "bubbled off" from a previous one.
Detailed measurements made by the satellite have shown that the fluctuations in the microwave background are about 10% stronger on one side of the sky than those on the other.
Co-author Professor Sean Carroll conceded that this might just be a coincidence, but pointed out that a natural explanation for this discrepancy would be if it represented a structure inherited from our universe's parent.
Their data comes from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which has been studying the CMB since its launch in 2001.
Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space.
The inspiration for their theory isn't just an explanation for the Big Bang our Universe experienced 13.7 billion years ago, but lies in an attempt to explain one of the largest mysteries in physics - why time seems to move in one direction.
Their model may help explain why we experience time moving in a straight line from yesterday into tomorrow.
Physicists have long blamed this one-way movement, known as the "arrow of time" on a physical rule known as the second law of thermodynamics, which insists that systems move over time from order to disorder.
According to Professor Carroll, pointed out that the theory depends on a major assumption - that the Universe began its life in an ordered state.
This makes understanding the roots of this most fundamental of laws a job for cosmologists, with Professor Carroll urging them to broaden their horizons.
"We're trained to say there was no time before the Big Bang, when we should say that we don't know whether there was anything - or if there was, what it was."
If the Caltech team's work is correct, we may already have the first information about what came before our own Universe.