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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3
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2answers
271 views

asymptotic curvature of the universe and correlation with local curvature

There is not-so-rough evidence that at very large scale the universe is flat. However we see everywhere that there are local lumps of matter with positive curvature. So i have several questions ...
1
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1answer
464 views

Can the Universe create itself?--Is Gott's Use of CTC in Planck time or less valid?

My question is the title of a 1991 paper by Richard Gott and Li-Xin Li: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9712344 and is also a subject of his popular book, "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe" Ultimately ...
9
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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 ...
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?
3
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1answer
555 views

What is a maximal analytic extension?

Can someone explain (as rigorously as possible) what is involved in analytically continuing, say, the Schwarzschild solution to the Kruskal manifold? I understand the two metrics separately but I'm ...
0
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1answer
293 views

Volume of Matter in the Universe [closed]

What would the size of the universe be if it were physically possible to remove all of the empty space, leaving only matter?
4
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3answers
636 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, ...
15
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5answers
1k views

How many times has the “stuff” in our solar system been recycled from previous stars?

Is there a cosmologist in the house? I've got a basic understanding (with some degree of error) of some simple facts: The Universe is a little over 13 billion years old. Our galaxy is almost that ...
0
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1answer
142 views

Effect of Cosmological Expansion at the Atomic Level [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does space expansion not expand matter? Does cosmological expansion have any effects at the atomic level?
3
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1answer
210 views

If Fine Structure Constant in not uniform in space what would that imply for cosmic background?

Recently J.Webb submitted paper which has extraordinary claim - that Fine Structure Constant is different in different directions in space! He (with others) measured $\alpha$ using quasar spectrum ...
1
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2answers
415 views

Expansion of the space-time metric [duplicate]

If the space-time metric is expanding with the expansion of the universe, if I could travel back in time, would I be less dense than the matter in that previous era?
2
votes
3answers
280 views

Is it physically meaningful to talk about the arrow of time in other universes?

The arrow of time is a concept that has been around for a while. In modern cosmology, it has been argued that there may be different arrows of time in other universes. Since these are also ...
4
votes
3answers
492 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)
2
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1answer
183 views

Size of our inflationary bubble

Once again, an attempt to connect popular and real science. I have read that inflation implies our universe should look flat, or really close to flat, because our observable universe is only a really ...
5
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2answers
403 views

Undergraduate-friendly reading material on the multiverse?

I'll be teaching a seminar for first-year undergraduates next year. The idea of my university's first-year seminar program is to expose students to exciting ideas and important texts in a somewhat ...
8
votes
6answers
576 views

Can (or How) Anthropic Principle be Made into a Scientific Theory?

Anthropic Principle says physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. I thought it is just philosophy mumbo-jumbo and it's not physics. But I could be ...
5
votes
1answer
891 views

Can/has string theory solved cosmological constant problem?

Can someone explain to me what the KKLT paper says, and what has and hasn't it achieved regarding the ability to construct solutions with a small positive or negative cosmological constant in string ...
0
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1answer
181 views

Is it a goal of modern physical theory to avoid big bang singularities and how do they approach the problem?

During discussion on another question, the question of singularties in modern physical theories arose. The big-bang is an obvious singularity in modern conceptions of the cosmos. Is it a goal of ...
9
votes
6answers
579 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
491 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 ...
1
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1answer
546 views

How to calculate the density of relic neutrinos?

May be not neutrinos, but antineutrinos? Or both types? In the last case, why they didn't annihilate and what is the ratio of relic neutrinos to relic antineutrinos? Is that ratio somehow related to ...
9
votes
1answer
330 views

Summing over topologies

Sometimes in quantum cosmology, when we are thinking about 'wave functions of the universe' we have in mind some sort of formal path integral, where we include not just the variations in the dynamical ...
1
vote
1answer
256 views

Why doesn't Brooklyn expand? (Or “Is the expansion of the universe kinematic?”) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why space expansion affects matter? Imagine two tiny spacecrafts that are moving with the Hubble flow and so are moving away from each other. Let's assume that they've ...
1
vote
0answers
150 views

Why is “dark matter” a more parsimonious explanation than “more normal matter than we thought”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why isn't dark matter just matter ? The evidence usually presented in support of dark matter is larger-than-expected masses in galaxy clusters: the mass required for ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Shape of the universe?

What is the exact shape of the universe? I know of the balloon analogy, and the bread with raisins in it. These clarify some points, like how the universe can have no centre, and how it can expand ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

Total energy of the Universe

In popular science books and articles, I keep running into the claim that the total energy of the Universe is zero, "because the positive energy of matter is cancelled out by the negative energy of ...
3
votes
4answers
586 views

What happens if a black hole sucks up a massive amount of oxygen and hydrogen?

Suppose a black hole were to suck up a massive amount of surrounding oxygen and hydrogen. Would this ignite inside the black hole and turn it back into a star?
9
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5answers
3k views

What is our location relative to the Big Bang?

Given what we know about space, time and the movement of galaxies, have we or can we determine what our position is in relation to the projected location of the Big Bang? I've read some introductory ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How long will the Universe's hydrogen reserves last for?

I recently became really interested in learning about physics and cosmology, but I still know very little. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will be able to shed some light on my questions. Here ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Did time exist before the creation of matter in the universe?

Does time stretch all the way back for infinity or was there a point when time appears to start in the universe? I remember reading long ago somewhere that according to one theory time began shortly ...
4
votes
1answer
833 views

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 ...
17
votes
5answers
593 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 ...
46
votes
6answers
5k views

Why does space expansion not expand matter?

REFORMULATED: I have looked at the other questions (ie "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for. My question: There is always mention of space expanding ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does it mean that the universe is “infinite”?

This question is about cosmology and general relativity. I understand the difference between the universe and the observable universe. What I am not really clear about is what is meant when I read ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

If the 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 universe, every ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

Does the recent re-count of stars in elliptical gallaxies affect our understanding of the universal mass balance?

I've seen several popular reports of a new count of low-mass stars in elliptical galaxies (here's one). Edit: Pursuant to several correct comments I've changed the title to agree with the actual ...
24
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
584 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 ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

What if the universe is rotating as a whole?

Suppose in the milliseconds after the big bang the cosmic egg had aquired some large angular momentum. As it expanded, keeping the momentum constant (not external forces) the rate of rotation would ...
5
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 ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Why isn't dark matter just matter?

There's more gravitational force in our galaxy (and others) than can be explained by counting stars. So why not lots of dark planetery systems (ie without stars) ? Why must we assume some undiscovered ...
-5
votes
1answer
331 views

Why is there something rather than nothing? [closed]

Why is there something rather than nothing? And before you answer "God did it," consider Carl Sagan's reply "then how did God come about?"
3
votes
1answer
356 views

Possibly naive question about quantized space-time

I beg your pardon in advance if this question is naive. In Quantum Mechanics, discrete values of measurements occur only in relation to bound states. This is because of the general solution for the ...
10
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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.
11
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1answer
350 views

How many atoms per light year does light encounter when traversing interstellar space?

Interstellar space is pretty empty but there a small number of of atoms (mostly hydrogen?) floating around. How many atoms per light year would a photon encounter while traversing interstellar space?
7
votes
4answers
704 views

Nature of decoupling of matter and radiation

I have a question about cosmology. At popular level people explain the time of decoupling of matter and radiation as the moment when temperature falls enough for nuclei and electrons to recombine into ...
7
votes
3answers
412 views

What current alternatives are there to the standard concordance model of cosmology?

The current "standard model" or concordance model of cosmology is Lambda CDM which includes late time acceleration due to a cosmological constant, cold dark matter as the missing matter component and ...