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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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 ...
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6answers
581 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 ...
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2answers
495 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 ...
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1answer
565 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 ...
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1answer
331 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 ...
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1answer
259 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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
591 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?
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5answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
849 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 ...
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5answers
595 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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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
210 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
594 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 ...
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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 ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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1answer
332 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?"
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1answer
358 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 ...
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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.
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1answer
351 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?
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4answers
715 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 ...
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3answers
417 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 ...