The study of the large-scale structure, history, and future of the universe. Cosmology is about asking and answering questions about the "big picture" - the extent, origin, and fate of everything we know.

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If the observable universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be?

I understand only a little of general relativity, but that's why I'm here! :) Consider the hypothetical situation of some extra-terrestrial intelligence pushing all the mass in the observable ...
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5answers
6k views

Is the total energy of the universe constant?

If total energy is conserved just transformed and never newly created, is there a sum of all energies that is constant? Why is it probably not that easy?
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4answers
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Is space “real”, or is it some sort of accepted postulate?

What is space? It seems to be everywhere in the equations of physics, as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis. We also have a direct experience of it, but is it "real"? The fact that we ...
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2answers
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Will acceleration rate of expansion of space become faster than speed of light?

From watching cosmology lectures, it seems that the space between galaxies is expanding at an accelerating rate, my question is since it is the space that is (acceleratingly expanding), the special ...
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Why do neutrino oscillations imply nonzero neutrino masses?

Neutrinos can pass from one family to another (that is, change in flavor) in a process known as neutrino oscillation. The oscillation between the different families occurs randomly, and the likelihood ...
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556 views

Space Expansion vs. Relative Motion

Given 2 objects moving at some velocity $v$ relative to one another, is it possible to determine whether they are moving or whether the space between them is expanding?
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604 views

What is meant when it is said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic?

It is sometimes said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. What is meant by each of these descriptions? Are they mutually exclusive, or does one require the other? And what implications rise ...
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3answers
855 views

Is the cosmic horizon related to the Big Bang event?

The Universe expands according to the Hubble's law: velocity is proportional to distance. There must be some distance, therefore, at which the velocity reaches the speed of light. This defines the ...
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4answers
889 views

Expansion of the Universe, will light from some galaxies never reach us?

Is it true that the light from some galaxies will never reach us? The explanation for that is that the Universe expanding faster than the speed of light. But, if the speed of light is constant in ...
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3answers
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What was the density of the universe when it was only the size of our solar system?

What was the density of the universe when it was only the size of our solar system? Did it approach neutron star density? Is it physically correct to even ask such a question?
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1answer
635 views

Superluminal expansion of the early universe how is this possible?

Is this a postulate? I get the expansion of the universe, the addition of discrete bits of space time between me and a distant galaxy, until very distant parts of the universe are moving relative to ...
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Why can we see the cosmic microwave background (CMB)?

I understand that we can never see much farther than the farthest galaxies we have observed. This is because, before the first galaxies formed, the universe was opaque--it was a soup of subatomic ...
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790 views

Size of the universe

This is really a follow up to the Shape of the universe question. In the first answer to the question, Ted Bunn says: However, the best available data seem to indicate that the Universe is very ...
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Is 2.5x speed of light possible between two objects?

These news are in Finnish: http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/Kaukaisin+havaittu+galaksi+et%C3%A4%C3%A4ntyy+maasta+valoa+nopeammin/a1305618680897 The main excerpt is: "Distant galaxy moves away from us as ...
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3answers
399 views

Books on cosmology

I am a 14 year old who is independently studying physics. I finished the book: Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity by Sean Carroll. I am specifically interested in cosmology, ...
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2answers
641 views

Dark matter and dark energy [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Dark matter references I have recently read about dark matter and dark energy, and why physicists think it must exist (dark matter: mass of galaxies are far bigger than ...
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Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
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4answers
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Do the laws of physics evolve?

Hubble's constant $a(t)$ appears to be changing over time. The fine stucture constant $\alpha$, like many others in QFT, is a running constant that varies, proportional to energy being used to measure ...
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3answers
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How can interstellar space have a temperature of 2-3K?

Several different sources online state that the average temperature of interstellar space (or the universe in general) is around 2-3K. I learned that temperature is basically the wiggling of matter, ...
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1answer
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Supermassive black holes with the density of the Universe

This question was inspired by the answer to the question "If the universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be" Assume that we have a matter with a uniform density ...
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2answers
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According to Hubble's Law, how can the expansion of the Universe be accelerating?

Scientists today think the expansion of the universe is accelerating. According to Hubble's law, objects further away are moving faster than objects closer to us. The further away an object is, the ...
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1answer
302 views

Baryogenesis only at the Planck scale, or none at all?

I can think of three general ways of explaining why the universe contains more matter than antimatter: (1) Near the Planck time, the universe had zero baryon asymmetry, but at some later time, ...
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4answers
755 views

Experimental evidence for parallel universes

My idea of physics is that it is a collection of mathematical laws relating observables. And that one can perform alot of mathematical derivations on these laws to produce new laws between ...
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2answers
2k views

The age of the universe

Many times I have read statements like, "the age of the universe is 14 billion years" . For example this wikipedia page Big Bang. Now, my question is, which observers' are these time intervals? ...
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2answers
450 views

What is the meaning of the “expansion of space”?

When we say that "the space between galaxies is expanding," what do we really mean? For instance, if I think of space as being a Cartesian grid, then when space expands should I think of it as adding ...
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3answers
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Why does the low entropy at the big bang require an explanation? (cosmological arrow of time)

I have read Sean Carrol's book. I have listened to Roger Penrose talk on "Before the Big Bang". Both are offering to explain the mystery of low entropy, highly ordered state, at the Big Bang. Since ...
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2answers
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How is dark energy consistent with conservation of mass and energy?

I initially thought that dark energy must in some way violate conservation of mass and energy since the component of the energy density of space that comes from dark energy is constant, and space is ...
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Hubble time, the age of the Universe and expansion rate

The Hubble time is about 14 billion years. The estimated current age of the Universe is about 13.7 billion years. Is the reason these two time are so close (a) a coincidence, or (b) a reflection that ...
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624 views

Lookback Time & Age of the Universe Calculations

I try to calculate the age of the universe with the FLRW model: $$ H(a) = H_0 \sqrt{\Omega_{\mathrm{R},0} \left(\frac{a_0}{a}\right)^4 + \Omega_{\mathrm{M},0} \left(\frac{a_0}{a}\right)^3 + ...
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1answer
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Observable (in principle) signal of a bubble collision in eternal inflation

Assuming a scenario of eternal inflation with a lot of "bubble universes" expanding, Lenny Susskind explains here that a potential signal of a collision of our universe with another bubble could be a ...
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2answers
517 views

Time-like Killing vector in FRW metric?

The spatially flat FRW metric in cartesian co-ordinates is given by: $$ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)$$ As I understand it there are Killing vectors in the $x$, $y$, $z$ directions implying ...
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2answers
227 views

Possibility of making dark energy equivalent with dark matter

I was curious whether it is possible to make dark energy equivalent to dark matter. Can this unification be done? If it can, why do scientists prefer to separate dark energy from dark matter?
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2answers
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Why does inflation (the inflaton field) push Omega down closer to zero (flatten the universe)?

I know that in our particular case the inflaton field expanded the volume of the universe while simultaneously maintaining a mass-energy density close to the critical density all the while, thus the ...
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Maximum size of the observable universe?

The size of our observable universe must have grown over time in the early universe. Conversely with the accelerated expansion, I have heard that eventually our observable universe will shrink down ...
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How come some people are claiming that the Big Bang never happened?

A news story is going viral on social media networks claiming that two physicists have found a way to eliminate the Big Bang singularity, or in layman's terms (as claimed by many sensationalist news ...
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What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
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8answers
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Are we inside a black hole?

I was surprised to only recently notice that An object of any density can be large enough to fall within its own Schwarzschild radius. Of course! It turns out that supermassive black holes at ...
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8answers
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Reversing gravitational decoherence

[Update: Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful replies! I learned something extremely interesting and relevant (namely, the basic way decoherence works in QFT), even though it wasn't what I thought I ...
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3answers
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The Pioneer anomaly finally explained?

Pioneer 10 & 11 are robotic space probes launched by the NASA in the early 1970's. After leaving our solar system, an unusual deceleration of both spacecrafts has been measured to be approximately ...
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3answers
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How do people calculate proportions of dark matter, dark energy and baryonic matter of the universe?

The Wikipedia page on dark matter mentions that the Planck mission had revealed that in our universe ordinary baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy are present in the ratio: 4.9%, 26.8% and ...
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What is the easiest way to stop a star?

On long enough cosmological time scales, hydrogen and helium nucleii will become scarce in the Universe. It seems to me that any advanced civilisations that might exist in that epoch would have the ...
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How Does Hubble's Expansion Affect Two Rope-Tied Galaxies?

Suppose we have two galaxies that are sufficiently far apart so that the distance between them increases due to Hubble's expansion. If I were to connect these two galaxies with a rope, would there be ...
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2answers
554 views

How does dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain galaxy rotation curve?

How does a dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain a galaxy rotation curve? Suppose for simplicity we use a model of a star rotating about a more massive star in a fixed circular orbit. For ...
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5answers
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What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
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5answers
679 views

What experiments, other than Hubble Expansion, support the Dark Energy theory?

Dark energy is introduced as a constant inside Einstein's equations. Its primary purpose, from what I understand, is to make Einstein's equations compatible with the accelerating expansion of the ...
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3answers
816 views

With redshift, energy is lost. Where does it go? [duplicate]

A photon emitted by a distant source billions of light years away arrives here with a lower frequency hence less energy than it started with. What happened to the energy?
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2answers
820 views

Can the Big Rip really rip apart an atomic nucleus?

Some scenarios describing the fate of the matter vs dark energy tug of war on the universe involve the acceleration of the universe increasing to the point that it ends up ripping apart even atoms. ...
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1answer
445 views

How is the expansion of space itself explained in LQG?

To explain the expansion of space I have often heard people saying that space is continuously created. This picture is usually applied to cosmological scales but I`m nevertheless curious if some ...
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1answer
425 views

Was the universe a black hole at the beginning?

Big bang cosmology, as far as I understand it, says that the universe was super hot and super dense and super small. It looks like that all the current matter, seen and unseen, were compressed to ...
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Have red shifted photons lost energy and where did it go? [duplicate]

I think the title says it. Did expansion of the universe steal the energy somehow?