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 unobservable universe is not “open” and will collapse, would we be able to tell?

Assuming hypothetically that it happens now while we are alive and analyzing our observable universe. If the unobservable universe collapses in a "Big Crunch", will we see its effects in our ...
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1answer
212 views

Do black holes play a role in quantum decoherence?

Sorry for such a vague question but I could have sworn I read somewhere that Hawking proposed the reason we might see a classically appearing universe is due to the possible role of black holes in ...
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1answer
511 views

What allows us to infer the existence of dark energy?

A recent Indian examination asked: how do we infer dark energy is there? It gave as options: rotation curves of galaxies, accelerated expansion of the universe, existence of microwave background ...
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586 views

spacetime expansion and universe expansion?

First of all, does the expansion of spacetime solely cause the expansion of universe? Secondly, if spacetime is the sole cause, do objects(matter with mass) themselves expand? Thirdly, by spacetime ...
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1answer
306 views

String theory landscape and false vacua

What is the multiverse of string theory? I always thought it would be from brane cosmology where there's chances for multiple collisions of the branes that can make a universe. So this "multiverse" ...
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0answers
37 views

Baryon asymmetry [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 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 ...
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1answer
256 views

Why is Hawking's No Boundary condition described in terms of an instanton if there's no tunneling?

Regarding his take about combining No Boundary proposal with inflation theory (Hawking and Turok), he talks about the "pea instanton". To my very limited understanding I thought instantons were only ...
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3answers
707 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 ...
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1answer
183 views

Can someone explain probability flux in the tunneling boundary condition of Vilenkin?

This is what's leading to the notion of a quantum universe tunneling from nothing into existence, right? The idea is that probability flux flows out of superspace (configuration space) at ...
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0answers
233 views

Extrinsic curvature versus Intrinsic curvature (Euclidean versus Riemannian)

Do we believe the universe has any extrinsic curvature at all? As far as I'm aware extrinsic curvature is only used in geometry/math to model the intrinsic curvature, correct? From the answers to ...
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2answers
166 views

Why did the WMAP mission last so much longer than Planck?

NASA endorsed 9 years of data taken with the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). The High Frequency Instrument aboard the Planck satellite ran out of coolant at the start of 2012, after about ...
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1answer
377 views

What is the fate of a 3-Torus universe?

Since it is flat, will it expand forever like a flat and open universe or collapse like a closed and curved universe?
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284 views

Is the FRW metric describing the shape of the universe or the shape of the expansion applied to the universe?

Is it (the output, i.e, spherical, flat, hyperbolic) describing the physical shape of the universe and its curvature at any given instance of time or is it describing the shape of the expansion ...
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1answer
351 views

Could the unobservable universe have curvature (be spherical)?

What prevents the unobservable universe from being a continuously enlarging sphere due to the inflating bubble universes? Our observable universe being close to flat could support such a scenario?
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5answers
318 views

Age of universe estimates

I was recently involved in a discussion on a sister site regarding how tightly coupled Physics is with the age of the Universe (and Earth). I believe that the Earth and the Universe are both billions ...
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1answer
471 views

Why is the universe described in terms of Euclidean space and not Minkowski spacetime?

The universe is described as an infinite Euclidean space in cosmology. Why isn't it treated as Minkowski spacetime?
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2answers
1k views

How did the inflaton field “add” energy to the universe?

How did inflation add energy to the universe? What mechanism did this occur by? In other words, where did that energy come from? Was it due to the quantum fluctuation (or that scalar field rolling ...
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2answers
377 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Zero energy universe

Regarding this thread: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=506985 Why is the idea that the total energy in the universe "zero" so popular (re: Laurence Krauss) and why is the flatness of ...
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1answer
546 views

How did the energy/entropy/volume/pressure/temperature relationship exist at the Big Bang and how did it evolve thereafter?

According to the current Big Bang with inflation cosmological model? I was under the mistaken impression that there was very low volume, very high temperature/pressure, very low entropy and the Big ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
337 views

How does the critical density decide the fate of the Universe?

Trying to teach myself cosmology. Given the Friedmann equation $$\left[\frac{1}{R}\frac{dR}{dt}\right]^{2}=\frac{8\pi G}{3}\rho-\frac{kc^{2}}{R^{2}}$$ and the critical density ...
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1answer
131 views

Earth's beginnings and early years, Re radioactive decay or not

It is said that the Earth and solar system are 4.6 billion years old. Presumably this date is achieved from radioactive decay. If this is the case, since most of the radioactive elements would have, ...
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1answer
208 views

Very basic question about empty universe

I'm trying to understand the empty universe model. My first textbook (which doesn't cover the empty universe) gives the Friedmann equation as $$\left[\frac{1}{R}\frac{dR}{dt}\right]^{2}=\frac{8\pi ...
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3answers
497 views

Shouldn't stars disappear from our view due to expansion?

The currently accepted theory of the expansion of the universe would suggest that for any point in the universe, there is a 'boundary' (somewhat like the Schwarzschild radius) beyond which it cannot ...
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8answers
3k views

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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3answers
304 views

Why doesn't dark energy vary with time?

Trying to teach myself the basics of cosmology. I can see why, in an expanding universe, radiation and matter density, and radiation and matter pressure vary with time. But why is it assumed that dark ...
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3answers
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How can we be so sure the universe has 3 dimensions?

I'm just a layman here so please bear with me if I don't get all the words or theories by correct name or whatever. I hope it will be clear enough what my question is. Here goes: When I read articles ...
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263 views

Are there any theories or suggestions for how the multiverse came into existence?

I've just seen a documentary about the multiverse. This provides an explanation for where the big bang came from. But it leaves me wondering: how did the multiverse come into existence? Because this ...
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172 views

Fine Tuned Universe

Is the fine tuning that cosmologists talk about (that our Universe is fine tuned for intelligent life) is the same as the fine tuning of the squared mass parameter of the Higgs in the Standard Model? ...
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4answers
2k views

Does the universe have a center?

If the big bang was the birth of everything, and the big bang was an event in the sense that it had a location and a time (time 0), wouldn't that mean that our universe has a center? Where was the ...
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3answers
667 views

Why does large curvature of spacetime imply high temperature?

I`ve just stumbled about a sentence which says that high curvature of spacetime implies that any matter present is at high temperature. This somehow confuses me, so my probably dumb question(s) are: ...
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1answer
61 views

Could there be a sort of “Molecular Destiny”?

Let's say we start with the Big Bang. Every bit of matter started from this event. Therefore, given EVERY variable (every particle, movements of particles, weights, times, etc) and an INFINITE amount ...
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2answers
438 views

Why does the homogeneity of the universe require inflation?

They say inflation must have occured because the universe is very homogeneous. Otherwise, how could one part of the universe reach the same temperature as another when the distance between the parts ...
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3answers
386 views

Where does the light of the Big Bang come from?

I'm wondering whether the residual light of the Big Bang comes from one particular direction and what possibilities do we have to detect its position?
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1answer
199 views

What is behind the cosmological horizon barrier?

I'm wondering what is behind the cosmological horizon barrier?
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3answers
341 views

Can extra dimensions be too large to be observable

String theory postulates 6 extra dimension, all too small to be observed. The best description of a small dimension is that of an ant walking on a flagpole: The ant observes that the flagpole allows ...
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2answers
1k 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?
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2answers
114 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 ...
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2answers
318 views

Quantum physics before the observer and relic interferences

It is known that the concept of an observer plays important role in quantum mechanics. In interpretations with collapse only the observer can trigger the wavefunction collapse. From this naturally ...
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0answers
57 views

Status of large-scale structure formation within cosmology today

Since the CMB results of the past decade, would it be fair to say that the consensus among cosmologists is that cosmic strings are no longer considered as a (major) source for density perturbations? ...
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2answers
132 views

How to test whether galaxies are moving away from each other in a static background or whether space is being created beween them?

Observations show that galaxies are moving away from one another on the macroscopic scale. Now, scientists interpret this by saying this happens not because galaxies are really moving away from each ...
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4answers
498 views

Did really everything begin with a state with very low entropy?

As emphasized by Penrose many years ago, cosmology can only make sense if the world started in a state of exceptionally low entropy. The low entropy starting point is the ultimate reason that the ...
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2answers
446 views

What will we see between the CMB and the current oldest object seen?

The cosmic background radiation (CMB) is estimated to be from 13.7 billion years ago (BYA), and very shortly after the big bang compared to that time frame. The oldest coherent objects we've detected ...
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1answer
589 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 ...
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1answer
405 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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1answer
3k views

What did Hawking mean? 'Time started at the big bang'. Book suggestions please [closed]

After writing down this question, I have come to realize that. What I really want is reading materials on the questions below. Before the big bang there was no such thing as 'time' (Steven Hawking on ...
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1answer
292 views

Does the dark matter halo rotate with the galaxy?

If the dark matter halo is stationary related to the arms of the galaxy then tidal effects should slow the galaxy rotation. If it rotates with the normal matter in the galaxy then shouldn't it ...
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2answers
325 views

How to concile flat spacetime and big bang?

After reading How do we resolve a flat spacetime and the cosmological principle? I still remain perplex. Please excuse my ignorance and try explaining to me : I thought that basically, when we ...
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2answers
711 views

Can the expansion space time reverse itself and contract the same way?

If there's a mechanism for space-time expanding faster than the speed of light, is there an example of It contracting in the same manner? If whatever mechanism is causing it to expand, can the ...