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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17
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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 ...
13
votes
4answers
266 views

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation?

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation? Seems like a simple enough question to answer right? And if just yesterday I were to encounter this, I'd have given a definite answer. But I've ...
11
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4answers
584 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?
10
votes
2answers
698 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
328 views

Does everything orbit around some universal “center of mass”?

I have read many questions about the center of the Universe. I even have some favorite ones. I understand the fact that every point in the universe experiences inflation the same way. Also that it ...
8
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2answers
409 views

How does dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain galaxy rotation curve?

How does a dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain a galaxy rotation curve? Suppose for simplicity we use a model of a star rotating about a more massive star in a fixed circular orbit. For ...
6
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6answers
952 views

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing?

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing? Not too long ago, Susskind and Bousso uploaded the article "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" with the thesis that the ...
8
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2answers
937 views

Will the CMB ever stop shining?

Will we ever reach a point where all the light that was set free by recombination finally reaches us from our point of view and the CMB stops "shining" for observers on Earth?
8
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1answer
359 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 ...
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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5answers
531 views

Is there no radioactive decay between nuclear fusion and solid material formation?

I'm aware my question might be considered a duplicate of this one: Radio-dating and the age of the earth I read that one and I looked everywhere and I still can't find my piece of mind. I would ...
4
votes
1answer
527 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 ...
7
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3answers
632 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
votes
2answers
1k views

How is dark energy consistent with conservation of mass and energy?

I initially thought that dark energy must in some way violate conservation of mass and energy since the component of the energy density of space that comes from dark energy is constant, and space is ...
5
votes
1answer
52 views

What fraction of baryonic matter is in stars?

We know from big bang nucleosynthesis that baryonic matter accounts for about 5% of the universe's total mass-energy density. What is the current best estimate of how much of this is in the form of ...
5
votes
2answers
590 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
515 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
votes
3answers
644 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
votes
1answer
238 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
votes
0answers
100 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
votes
3answers
216 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
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
2
votes
2answers
252 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 ...
2
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1answer
137 views

extracting energy from cosmological expansion

This question is a more concrete reincarnation of an old question about energy conservation in GR. Are there mechanisms to extract energy from the cosmic rate of expansion? putting some extremely ...
2
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1answer
157 views

The range of light

It occurs to me that the empirical evidence shows that there is a point out in space where light stops coming from. Putting aside the expansion of the universe for a second, and focusing strictly on ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Calculating Hubble's constant at earlier times [duplicate]

I want to calculate Hubble's constant at some redshift $z$. I have found the following formula: $$H^2=H_0^2\left(\Omega_m\left(1+z\right)^3+\Omega_{\Lambda}\right)$$ Now it's obvious that at higher ...
1
vote
1answer
982 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
633 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. ...
0
votes
3answers
136 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 ...
6
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3answers
613 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 ...
5
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3answers
414 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), ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Spacial curvature and expanding space

If we take the analogy that in an empty space the space is just a flat sheet then if there is a single planet or a star then the flat sheet will curve below the planet leaving a curvature shaped like ...
3
votes
2answers
120 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
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2answers
103 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
votes
2answers
258 views

Why are we blind for the era before the recombination?

At recombination, Universe became transparent to electromagnetic radiation after universe expanded enough to cool down to form neutral atoms. Before that, the matter plasma was effectively opaque to ...
2
votes
4answers
204 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 ...
2
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0answers
88 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
vote
3answers
175 views

Is the universe flat?

There are more than one way to view the description of the universe as flat. There is the description of an open, flat or closed universe in terms of it's fate, expansion forever away from gravity, or ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Expanding universe and the peculiar velocity

Hubble's law states that the universe is expanding with a velocity equals Hubble's constant*distance from earth. But, recent findings show that the Andromeda galaxy is actually blueshifting towards us ...
1
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3answers
125 views

If everything in existence were increasing in size at some rate, would we be able to detect it?

Would our eyes observe any changes? What about electronic measurement devices?
1
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5answers
822 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
195 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
343 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"?
0
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2answers
123 views

Size of Universe after inflation

I read in some website that during the period of inflation, the expansion of the universe underwent incredibly fast, and its size increased by a factor of $10 ^{50}$, see this link In this field, I ...
0
votes
0answers
89 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
238 views

Cosmological redshift interpretation

Can the cosmological redshift be interpreted as atomic frequencies increasing by the scale factor as the Universe expands? This explanation seems closer to the truth than the popular idea that a ...
0
votes
1answer
459 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

How do people calculate proportions of dark matter, dark energy and baryonic matter of the universe?

The Wikipedia page on dark matter mentions that the Planck mission had revealed that in our universe ordinary baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy are present in the ratio: 4.9%, 26.8% and ...
11
votes
2answers
314 views

The difference between The Dilaton and The Radion?

I have read this question on the Dilaton, but I am a little confused with the distinction between the Dilaton and the Radion. I definitely have the feeling that these two scalar fields are different ...