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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

11
votes
6answers
4k views

How many bits are needed to simulate the universe?

This is not the same as: How many bytes can the observable universe store? The Bekenstein bound tells us how many bits of data can be stored in a space. Using this value, we can determine the ...
7
votes
2answers
510 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
524 views

Dark age of universe when all fusion process ceases?

Some say we live in the golden age of the universe because there exits countless number of stars that shines in the dark universe. As the supply of gas for star formation is steadily being exhausted, ...
6
votes
4answers
628 views

How does the formation of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
3
votes
2answers
773 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
128 views

Are all galaxies we see really our Milky Way? Any possibility?

There is a possibility for our universe to be the surface volume of a (higher-dimensional) hyperspace. So if this possibility is true,then is there also a possibility that the other galaxies we see ...
11
votes
6answers
558 views

How large is the universe?

We know that the age of the universe (or, at least the time since the Big Bang) is roughly 13.75 billion years. I have heard that the size of the universe is much larger than what we can see, in other ...
8
votes
2answers
338 views

Is there a consensus on the fate of our universe?

We all know that our universe is inflating from what is known as the Big Bang. However, will our universe continue to inflate at the current rate? Or after reaching a maximum size, will it collapse in ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
798 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, ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

Is topology of universe observable?

There is an idea that the geometry of physical space is not observable(i.e. it can't be fixed by mere observation). It was introduced by H. Poincare. In brief it says that we can formulate our ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does dark energy produce positive space-time curvature?

My understanding is that dark energy, or equivalently a positive cosmological constant, is accelerating the expansion of the universe and I have read that this gives empty space-time positive ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

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 ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
356 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, ...
11
votes
2answers
723 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
666 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing?

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing? Not too long ago, Susskind and Bousso uploaded the article "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" with the thesis that the ...
4
votes
1answer
268 views

The arrow of time and the cosmology of a black hole interior

When solving the Einstein field equations in Schwarzschild metric for an observer falling into a black hole the radial coordinate r of the black hole and time t switch roles in the equations when ...
25
votes
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? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

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?
4
votes
5answers
687 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?
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Given that matter cannot escape a black hole, how did the big bang produce the universe we see today?

Extrapolation of the expansion of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past. If the matter contained within our ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
340 views

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?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How is it possible the universe expanded faster than the speed of light during inflation?

In a documentary written in collaboration with Stephen Hawking, the narrator (supposedly Stephen Hawkings) says that by the time the cosmos was 10 minutes old, it had already expanded thousands of ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
840 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 ...
77
votes
5answers
6k views

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? ...
27
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
31
votes
3answers
5k views

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, ...
14
votes
4answers
12k views

Size of universe after inflation?

Wikipedia states the period of inflation was from $10^{-36}$sec to around $10^{-33}$sec or $10^{-32}$sec after Big Bang, but it doesn't say what the size of the universe was when inflation ended. ...
7
votes
4answers
818 views

Experimental evidence for parallel universes/multiverses

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Mechanism for the gravitational field generated by photons

This question follows from a schooling I received in this thread. I figured that photons do not interact with gravity, except when they've spontaneously converted into a particle-antiparticle pair. ...
7
votes
1answer
896 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 + ...
7
votes
4answers
914 views

Baryon asymmetry

Baryon asymmetry refers to the observation that apparently there is matter in the Universe but not much antimatter. We don't see galaxies made of antimatter or observe gamma rays that would be ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

How is distance measured to far away stars and galaxies?

What I need is an accurate description of the methods used to determine the distance to Andromeda. The Parallax method is for nearby objects as I presume. The red shift method applies, but how do you ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the evidence for Inflation of the early universe?

The theory of Inflation explains the apparent consistency of the universe by proposing that the early universe grew exponentially for a 1E-36 seconds. Isn't a simpler explanation that the universe is ...
5
votes
3answers
223 views

How would we estimate, ahead of time, “the chances” of LIGO spotting black holes colliding in the period that it has been operating? [duplicate]

Can anyone summarize calculations that have been done about the theoretical probability of a detectable black hole collision happening in the observable universe within the time that LIGO has been ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Do photons lose energy due to gravitational redshift? If so, where does the lost energy go? [duplicate]

In the gravitational redshift, the frequency of photons radiated from some source is reduced. As the energy of a photon is given by $\hbar\omega$, if the frequency is reduced where is the lost energy? ...