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If the term weren’t so legendary — and notorious to some — you’d think it was the name of a monster truck rally, a fireworks store, or sugar-drenched breakfast cereal.

In reality, “Big Bang” describes what is commonly understood to be the instantaneous birth of the universe 13.7 billion years ago as an ultra-compact, yet rapidly expanding, fireball.

The earliest cornerstone for the Big Bang theory is spectral data that showed the light from distant galaxies is proportionally redder (redshifted) than from local galaxies. This is interpreted as being caused by the uniform expansion of space that attenuates light, as predicted by Einstein’s Special Relativity. The rate of expansion gives an age for the universe and inevitably leads to the conclusion the universe was once smaller, denser, and much, much hotter.

Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble independently discovered this distance-redshift relationship nearly a century ago. A Catholic Jesuit priest, Lemaître went on to hypothesize a primordial “egg” from which everything began.

I could fill a computer hard drive with e-mails I’ve received over the years from what I’d collectively call the “Big Bang haters” — most are from amateur theoreticians who say they’ve figured out a way to get rid of the Big Bang.

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