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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How can a black hole zap a galaxy into existence?

I am referring to this picture published here. Apparently super massive black holes emit radiation and matter in astrophysical jets. And these jets can form galaxies. I have some questions: Isn't ...
4
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5answers
600 views

What is the significance of Planck force?

I have been curious to find what could be the significance of Planck force? It is calculated by the formula $c^4/G = 1.21031359\times 10^{44} \, \mathrm{N}$, where $c$ is the speed of light and $G$ is ...
3
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2answers
795 views

Time-like Killing vector in FRW metric?

The spatially flat FRW metric in cartesian co-ordinates is given by: $$ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)$$ As I understand it there are Killing vectors in the $x$, $y$, $z$ directions implying ...
3
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1answer
259 views

Observable (in principle) signal of a bubble collision in eternal inflation

Assuming a scenario of eternal inflation with a lot of "bubble universes" expanding, Lenny Susskind explains here that a potential signal of a collision of our universe with another bubble could be a ...
7
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6answers
340 views

If space is “expanding” in itself - why then is there redshift?

The "kid's" way of understanding the expanding universe is that: "space" is totally "ordinary", and all the galaxies are expanding through it (like an explosion). Of course, that's wrong. The usual ...
5
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3answers
332 views

Temperature in space

Temperature is a measure of kinetic energy transferred to particles, henceforth, space being vacuum, temperature cannot be measured. But then, there is cosmic background radiation. It is the leftover ...
3
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2answers
462 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 ...
95
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3answers
16k views

How come some people are claiming that the Big Bang never happened?

A news story is going viral on social media networks claiming that two physicists have found a way to eliminate the Big Bang singularity, or in layman's terms (as claimed by many sensationalist news ...
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8answers
3k views

Reversing gravitational decoherence

[Update: Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful replies! I learned something extremely interesting and relevant (namely, the basic way decoherence works in QFT), even though it wasn't what I thought I ...
30
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3answers
1k 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 ...
33
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4answers
4k views

Why does a flat universe imply an infinite universe?

This article claims that because the universe appears to be flat, it must be infinite. I've heard this idea mentioned in a few other places, but they never explain the reasoning at all.
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1answer
916 views

What are the alternative theories of dark energy? ($w \neq -1$)

There has been a lot of related questions about dark energy around here but these are usually 2-4 years old and the closest question to mine hasn't really been answered, so I am going to proceed. ...
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1answer
933 views

Dirac Equation in General Relativity

Dirac equation for the massless fermions in curved spase time is $γ^ae^μ_aD_μΨ=0$, where $e^μ_a$ are the tetrads. I have to show that Dirac spinors obey the following equation: ...
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3answers
2k views

What are galactic speeds measured against?

The Earth moves through space at 67,000 MPH. The Milky Way travels through a local group at 2,237,000 MPH. Wouldn't you need a fixed point to be able to measure velocity against? After all, compared ...
14
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7answers
2k 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 ...
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9answers
1k views

Is it possible all matter in the universe emerges from nothing?

If the Universe is flat and the total energy of the universe can be zero (we don't know if it is, but many theorists support the idea, i.e. at BB initial conditions: t = 0, V = 0, E = 0) then is it ...
10
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1answer
1k views

How do scientists calculate the percentage of dark energy in the universe?

I can understand how the percentage of dark matter compared to ordinary matter is calculated, because the amount of dark matter has a clear gravitational effect on the ordinary matter in a Galaxy. ...
4
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1answer
1k 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 ...
16
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5answers
1k views

What was the entropy of the universe at the time of the Big Bang?

(I asked this question in Philosophy.SE; but I was advised to direct it here, despite it is, in my opinion, somewhat too speculative for physics.SE). High entropy generally means high disorder; and ...
12
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3answers
2k views

With redshift, energy is lost. Where does it go? [duplicate]

A photon emitted by a distant source billions of light years away arrives here with a lower frequency hence less energy than it started with. What happened to the energy?
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2answers
1k 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. ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Is Poincare recurrence relevant to our universe?

If the theory of everything indicates a singularity-free and finite universe, will Poincare recurrence be relevant to the universe? If so, is there any interesting physical consequence, e.g. in ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

A Cosmological horizon at the Hubble radius?

I have calculated that if one extends a rigid ruler into space by a fixed proper distance $D$ then a clock at the end of the ruler, running on proper time $\tau$, will run more slowly than time $t$ at ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Other explanation for cosmological redshift?

I'm interested if any of the following explanations have enough predictive capability to explain the observations we see today. The claim is that the Universe is not expanding, and that red-shift of ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
20
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5answers
817 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 ...
5
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6answers
662 views

Is it possible that galaxies' redshift is caused by something else than the expansion of space?

I was thinking that maybe photons loss energy naturally when they travel great distances. Or maybe the mass of all matter is increasing over time and therefore photons emitted in the past are ...
5
votes
2answers
651 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 ...
2
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1answer
467 views

How is the expansion of space itself explained in LQG?

To explain the expansion of space I have often heard people saying that space is continuously created. This picture is usually applied to cosmological scales but I`m nevertheless curious if some ...
10
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1answer
539 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
366 views

What is the entropy of the universe today?

What's the entropy of the universe today? How does one go about calculating this? I've heard the statement that black holes account for the bulk of the entropy in the universe today, but don't know ...
5
votes
2answers
524 views

Are the implications of an infinite universe necessarily so unsettling

I have often heard it said (by professional cosmologists) that if the universe is infinite, then there necessarily exist infinitely many copies of me repeated throughout. The reasoning seems to be ...
5
votes
1answer
634 views

What is the equation for the scale factor of the universe, a(t), for the best fit of data to the $\Lambda CDM$ Model of Cosmology?

Ideally I like a single formula or multiple formulas for different time ranges that would cover the time from the end of inflation through 100+ billion years after the big bang using the $\Lambda ...
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4answers
1k views

Do new universes form on the other side of black holes?

I have four questions about black holes and universe formations. Do new universes form on the other side of black holes? Was our own universe formed by this process? Was our big bang a black hole ...
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3answers
627 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)
11
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3answers
505 views

Does MOND make good predictions?

Well, it does according to this preprint for certain scales. What would be a simple way to explain MOND to a layman? Does it ignore mainstream physics? How much?
10
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2answers
342 views

How fast is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) changing?

I know that the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is the leftover radiation from the "surface of last scattering". However, at every instant the surface is changing (at the rate of flow ...
7
votes
3answers
767 views

Dark Energy / Accelerating universe: naive question

Folks, I have a naive question regarding the subject of dark energy and an accelerating universe: From what I understand/read, it seems that the further we look out into deep space, the faster the ...
6
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3answers
323 views

Is energy conserved in general relativity? Does $\nabla_aT^{ab}_{\rm matter}=0$ represent the conservation of energy and momentum?

For example, the radiation dominated cosmology, the energy density of radiation is proportional to $a^{-4}$ and the volume is proportional to $a^3$, where $a$ is the scale factor. So the total energy ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Why can't “missing mass” (=dark matter) be photons?

After a star lives and dies, I assume virtually all of its 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
721 views

Expansion of the Universe: is new space(time?) being created or does it just get stretched?

Is new space(time?) being created as the Universe expands, or does the existing spacetime just get stretched? If it just gets stretched, why do galaxies move along with the expansion instead of just ...
3
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1answer
337 views

Time slowing down vs. universe expanding

Einstein said that it is impossible to distinguish between the effect of gravity and acceleration (so if you stand in an accelerating elevator in space it would not feel any different than if you were ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

Smolin on Cosmological selection and neutron stars

Regarding the cosmological selection hypothesis and testable predictions, Lee Smolin asserted the following: "Smolin: I did make two predictions which were eminently checkable by astrophysical ...
3
votes
2answers
690 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
votes
4answers
3k views

Was the Universe's entropy equal to zero at the Big Bang? Is zero-entropy state unique?

It is postulated by many cosmologists that at the Big Bang time the universe was in an unusual low entropy state. Does this claim specifically mean that the entropy of the initial universe was zero? ...
2
votes
3answers
471 views

How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...
2
votes
2answers
244 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?
2
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2answers
230 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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1answer
184 views

Cosmological Constant on the LHS of Einstein's Field Equation

The cosmological constant seems to be normally described as an energy (repulsive force, Dark Energy) of Space-Time. I was just wondering, if we were to interpret the cosmological constant as being ...
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0answers
55 views

Graviational Lensing Data

Can anyone provide me with (or point me to) real life gravitational lensing data that I can plug in to the first equation on this page (the standard lensing equation): ...