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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27
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5answers
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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 ...
29
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4answers
2k views

Is topology of universe observable?

There is an idea that the geometry of physical space is not observable(i.e. it can't be fixed by mere observation). It was introduced by H. Poincare. In brief it says that we can formulate our ...
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.
4
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1answer
947 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: $$(−D_μD^μ+\frac{1}{4}R)...
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 ...
12
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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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
10
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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. ...
8
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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
votes
5answers
819 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
12k views

Size of universe after inflation?

Wikipedia states the period of inflation was from $10^{-36}$sec to around $10^{-33}$sec or $10^{-32}$sec after Big Bang, but it doesn't say what the size of the universe was when inflation ended. ...
7
votes
4answers
823 views

Experimental evidence for parallel universes/multiverses

My idea of physics is that it is a collection of mathematical laws relating observables. And that one can perform alot of mathematical derivations on these laws to produce new laws between observables....
10
votes
1answer
550 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
votes
3answers
775 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
1answer
370 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
3answers
631 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)
5
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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 ...
5
votes
2answers
665 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 $\Lambda CDM$...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
326 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 ...
6
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2answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
795 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 ...
2
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2answers
247 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
votes
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...)
2
votes
3answers
484 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 ...
1
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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 ...
0
votes
4answers
522 views

What are the differences between dark energy and a cosmological constant?

My possibly mistaken understanding is that dark energy changes with time, whereas a cosmological constant is, well, constant. What about gravitational clumping? Detecting relative motion?
0
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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): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
12
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3answers
2k views

Will the Big Rip tear black holes apart?

There seems to be an obvious contradiction between the predictions of the physics of black holes and the Big Rip, a predicted event about 16.7 Gyr in the future where local groups, galaxies, solar ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Where does CMB come/emit from?

Where exactly does CMB come from. I've seen it in documentaries as a huge sphere with Earth in the middle. But if all this radiation was ejected from the start of the universe some time after the big ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

On Flatness problem, Inflation etc

I have a couple of naive questions from the topic of the title. We know \begin{eqnarray} \Omega-1=\frac{k}{a^2H^2}-\frac{\Lambda}{3H^2} \end{eqnarray} Now I read that from the standard big bang (SBB)...
9
votes
3answers
191 views

Seeing cosmic activity now, really means it happens millions/billions of years ago?

A Recent report about a cosmic burst 3.8 billion light years away. It is written as though it is happening now. However, my question is, if the event is 3.8 billion light years away, doesn't that mean ...
9
votes
1answer
847 views

Size of the universe

This is really a follow up to the Shape of the universe question. In the first answer to the question, Ted Bunn says: However, the best available data seem to indicate that the Universe is very ...
4
votes
2answers
834 views

Books on cosmology

I am a 14 year old who is independently studying physics. I finished the book: Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity by Sean Carroll. I am specifically interested in cosmology, ...
3
votes
4answers
207 views

Is it possible to learn about an event that occurred outside of your observable universe?

I have mixed intuitions about this. On one hand, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and if there is enough space between you and an event then a signal will get stuck in the middle of ...
3
votes
2answers
444 views

Big Bang and Cosmic microwave background radiation?

One of the experimental evidence that supports the theory of big bang is cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). From what I've read is that CMBR is the left over radiation from an early stage ...
2
votes
4answers
262 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 blocks,...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

If everything in the universe doubled in size overnight, would it be noticeable?

By my understanding, if everything doubled in size, such as the Sun and the Earth, and because the space in between them (which is nothing) can't expand, would the gravities greatly change and the ...
96
votes
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 ...
77
votes
5answers
6k views

What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
24
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1answer
3k views

Why haven't we seen the big bang?

The Andromeda galaxy is 2,538,000 light years away, so if we view Andromeda from a telescope, we see Andromeda how it was 2,538,000 years ago. Now the diameter of the visible universe is 92 billion ...
18
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1answer
931 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. ...
10
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3answers
517 views

Does the dimensionality of phase space go up as the universe expands?

Ever since Hubble, it is well known that the universe is expanding from a Big Bang. The size of the universe had gone up by many many orders of magnitude as space expanded. If the dimensionality of ...
9
votes
2answers
555 views

Could spontaneous symmetry breaking happen again in our universe?

It is generally believed that $10^{-35}$ seconds after the Big Bang, the symmetry of a GUT was broken and after $10^{-12}$ seconds the electroweak force was broken: \begin{equation} \mathrm{SU(2)} \...