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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7
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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?
5
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2answers
1k 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 ...
5
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5answers
2k 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 ...
3
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2answers
337 views

How is it possible to come to a conclusion that Universe is a result of the Big Bang while we aren't able to observe the entire Universe?

-I'm not a religious person so this is not a denial. I'm just trying to understand the most fundamental topic about Universe. -I know the Big Bang cosmological model is not a law but it's a theory. ...
3
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5answers
322 views

Space Expansion vs. Relative Motion

Inspired by a recent dialogue from another question: 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 ...
2
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2answers
191 views

What is the curvature of the universe?

What is currently the most plausible model of the universe regarding curvature, positive, negative or flat? (I'm sorry if the answer is already out there, but I just can't seem to find it...)
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2answers
1k 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
3answers
87 views

Seeing cosmic activity now, really means it happens millions/billions of years ago?

A Recent report about a cosmic burst 3.8 billion light years away. It is written as though it is happening now. However, my question is, if the event is 3.8 billion light years away, doesn't that mean ...
7
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1answer
645 views

On Flatness problem, Inflation etc

I have a couple of naive questions from the topic of the title. We know \begin{eqnarray} \Omega-1=\frac{k}{a^2H^2}-\frac{\Lambda}{3H^2} \end{eqnarray} Now I read that from the standard big bang ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
4
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3answers
421 views

References for ADM formalism and cosmological perturbation theory [closed]

What would you consider the best online resources for learning the 3+1 ADM formalism and gauge invariant perturbation theory in cosmology? (Assuming intermediate level GR and QFT familiarity)
3
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2answers
274 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
456 views

If everything in the universe doubled in size overnight, would it be noticeable?

By my understanding, if everything doubled in size, such as the Sun and the Earth, and because the space in between them (which is nothing) can't expand, would the gravities greatly change and the ...
66
votes
5answers
5k 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? ...
23
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 ...
26
votes
3answers
948 views

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 ...
12
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6answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
376 views

Does the dimensionality of phase space go up as the universe expands?

Ever since Hubble, it is well known that the universe is expanding from a Big Bang. The size of the universe had gone up by many many orders of magnitude as space expanded. If the dimensionality of ...
13
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5answers
494 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 ...
10
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2answers
579 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. ...
7
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2answers
185 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empircially privileged reference frame?

OK...before everyone blasts this with references to the relativistic invariance of the physical laws, time dilation, etc let me add some context. Also, I am an amateur with an interest in physics, so ...
7
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2answers
1k views

How many bytes can the observable universe store?

Is the number of states in the Universe countable? What framework could be used to answer the question in the title?
4
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1answer
416 views

What are the theoretical explanations behind the “no-boundary condition” in cosmology?

In his book "The Grand Design" on page 167-173 Stephen Hawking explains how one can get rid of the so called "time zero issue", meaning by this the very special initial state needed for inflation to ...
2
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2answers
222 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, ...
3
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1answer
162 views

Fulvio Melia's linear Universe

I would be interested in what people think of Fulvio Melia's argument for a linearly expanding Universe. I realize that the experimental evidence seems to be pointing to an accelerating Universe ...
3
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0answers
89 views

At what expansion rate (H) would virtual particles be ripped apart into real particles, and what might be the density (temperature) of such an event?

Is it even possible for a virtual particle-antiparticle pair to be torn apart by cosmological expansion? Virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are ripped apart near black hole event horizons, creating ...
3
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3answers
202 views

What does Brian Greene mean when he claims we wont be able to observe light from distant stars due to the universe's expansion?

Brian Greene in this TED talk about possible multiverse, claims tomwards the end (At around 18:00 mark) this statement. 'Because the expansion is speeding up, in the very far future, those galaxies ...
3
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3answers
579 views

Do singularities have a “real” as opposed to mathematical or idealized existence?

I was thinking of, for example a Schwarzchild metric at r=0, i.e. the gravitational singularity, a point of infinite density. I realise that there are different types of singularities--timelike, ...
3
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2answers
448 views

Is the observable universe enclosed by an infinitely dense shell?

In modern cosmology, it is commonly stated to the public that as we look deeper and deeper into space, we are seeing further into the past. CMB is the relic of the big bang after photon decoupling ...
3
votes
2answers
518 views

Big bang and time

I heard Carl Sagan talking about the Universe 15 Billion years ago, and the Big Bang. He made the statement that it was the biggest explosion of all time (at first I thought this a subtle pun). This ...
1
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1answer
676 views

Is it possible that the Big Bang was caused by virtual particle creation?

As far as I understand, it is understood that throughout the universe there exists, what is known as, a quantum field from which, due to its fluctuations, temporary (pairs of) virtual particles ...
1
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3answers
422 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. ...
5
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3answers
343 views

Could the acceleration of universe expansion be caused by gravity itself?

Dark energy is suggested to be a repulsive force in the universe causing an accelerated expansion. If the amount of mass outside our observable universe is greater than inside (higher mass density), ...
4
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1answer
453 views

Additional merits to Wetterich's “Universe without expansion” compared to standard cosmological redshift interpretation?

A recent news item in Nature promotes Wetterich's preprint "A Universe without expansion". All sounds very exciting but hard to judge for non-experts. As I understand from the Nature's article, the ...
4
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2answers
438 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 ...
3
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2answers
277 views

Big Bang and Cosmic microwave background radiation?

One of the experimental evidence that supports the theory of big bang is cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). From what I've read is that CMBR is the left over radiation from an early stage ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

How do we know that earth moves around sun and that too in elliptical orbit

I know the basics of solar system like how earth moves around sun, and that we have so many planets, elliptical orbit of earth, and how far is sun from earth etc etc. I want to take a step back and ...
2
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2answers
94 views

Cosmic radiation cutoff at LOW energies?

The energy spectrum of the cosmic radiation (not CMB) is limited to both sides. I know about the GZK-cutoff at high energies. Basically the interaction probability for photons of energies above 10^20 ...
2
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0answers
82 views

Topics in particle cosmology [closed]

I am interested in learning more about this interdisciplinary approach. 1) What are some of the top questions in particle cosmology (e.g nature of dark matter, inflationary structure, topological ...
1
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2answers
114 views

How can space expand?

How can space expand when it is only a perception of the separation between at least 2 objects. Isn't saying "space expands" implying it has properties?
1
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1answer
136 views

Equation for Hubble Value as a function of time

I am trying to write the equation for the situation where the Hubble parameter $H$ would be changing over time. In other words, it would represent an accelerated expansion of the Universe. That is, ...
1
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4answers
182 views

Expansion of the universe and strain

From cosmological models that involve expansion of the universe, can we not say that there are ever increasing tidal forces felt by solid bodies? If so, the material in solid bodies like metal ...
1
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5answers
601 views

Why can't missing mass be photons?

After a star lives and dies, I assume virtually all of it's mass would be photons. If enough stars have already lived and died, couldn't there be enough photon energy out there to account for all the ...
1
vote
2answers
171 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?
1
vote
1answer
308 views

How is it possible that we see light from shortly after the big bang?

How can astronomers see light from shortly after the big bang? How did we get "here" before the light that emanated from our "creation"?
1
vote
1answer
405 views

Does the Big Bang need a cause? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: on causality and The Big Bang Theory Asking here in layman's terms.. When theoretical physicsists discuss the origin of our Universe, the wider consensus appears to be ...
0
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0answers
88 views

Calculating the age of the Universe now and 30 billion years from now [duplicate]

I am confused about the age of the Universe. If you calculate it by $1 / H_0$, won't the answer be roughly the same today as it will be 30 billion years from now? I know $H_0$ is a parameter, not a ...
8
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10answers
2k views

What is the most efficient way to destroy the universe? [closed]

Don't worry... I won't actually do it, just would like to know how.
10
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4answers
205 views

Can matter leave the cosmic horizon?

Cosmic horizon in the de Sitter space is a sphere, centered at the observer with finite radius where the red shift due to cosmic expansion becomes infinite. Given that no information can be ...
10
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7answers
2k 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 ...