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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9
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6answers
569 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
103 views

Victorian cosmology after the second law of thermodynamics but before relativity?

In the 19th century, most astronomers adopted an island universe model, in which our galaxy was the only object in an infinite space. They didn't know that the "spiral nebulae" were other galaxies. ...
3
votes
1answer
545 views

What is a maximal analytic extension?

Can someone explain (as rigorously as possible) what is involved in analytically continuing, say, the Schwarzschild solution to the Kruskal manifold? I understand the two metrics separately but I'm ...
2
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1answer
387 views

Surely proper time expands like proper space?

The FRW metric at the origin $r=0$ is simply given by: $$ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)\ dr^2$$ Setting $dt=0$ gives us an element of proper distance $ds$ given by: $$ds = a(t)\ dr$$ Thus we get the well known ...
14
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5answers
1k views

How many times has the “stuff” in our solar system been recycled from previous stars?

Is there a cosmologist in the house? I've got a basic understanding (with some degree of error) of some simple facts: The Universe is a little over 13 billion years old. Our galaxy is almost that ...
13
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10answers
234 views

In astronomy what phenomena have theory predicted before observations?

As far as I know, astronomy is generally an observational science. We see something and then try to explain why it is happening. The one exception that I know of is black holes: first it was thought ...
8
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6answers
575 views

Can (or How) Anthropic Principle be Made into a Scientific Theory?

Anthropic Principle says physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. I thought it is just philosophy mumbo-jumbo and it's not physics. But I could be ...
6
votes
1answer
469 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 ...
5
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0answers
67 views

Why hasn't warm dark matter replaced cold dark matter as the standard model of cosmology?

The $\Lambda\rm CDM$ (cold dark matter with cosmological constant) is the current standard model of cosmology because the model comes with a long list of phenomena successfully explained by it. ...
5
votes
6answers
266 views

Are there free data available online from cosmology (or astrophysics) experiments that anyone can analyse?

One can understand a subject better in physics by trying to solve as many problems as one can from a textbook say. When it comes to experimental physics and data analysis, no book on experimental ...
5
votes
2answers
754 views

When will the Hubble volume coincide with the volume of the observable Universe?

The Hubble volume is the volume that corresponds to objects so far from the Earth that the space between us and them is expanding faster than the speed of light. (I.e. objects outside this volume ...
4
votes
0answers
235 views

Conservation of Energy in the Universe [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is energy really conserved? Why can’t energy be created or destroyed? One of the laws of the universe that dazzles me the most is the law of conservation of energy. I ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Relation between multipole moment and angular scale of CMB

What is the relation between multipole moment $l$ and angular scale $\theta$ of the Cosmic Microwave Background? Somewhere on the web I found that $\theta\propto\frac{180^{\circ}}{l}$ but I need exact ...
2
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
322 views

how many times have the first photons lapped the universe?

I'm not really interested in the actual number of times, but rather an explanation of a closed Universe. How do we still measure the background radiation of the Big Bang? Those electromagnetic waves ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Where's the missing helium in the Universe?

I'm confused: Big Bang nucleosynthesis is adamant about the 1 neutron to 7 proton ratio which yields 75% hydrogen to 25% helium (with a nominal amount of partially-reacted deuterium and heavier ...
12
votes
1answer
250 views

As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

evidence on the equation of state for dark energy?

If dark energy contributes mass-energy density $\rho$ and pressure $p$ to the stress-energy tensor, then you can define $w=p/\rho$, where $w=-1$ gives a cosmological constant, $w<-1$ gives a big ...
8
votes
3answers
276 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
262 views

If we could build a telescope to view the cosmic neutrino background, what would we see?

If we could build a neutrino telescope capable of viewing relic neutrinos that decoupled after the big bang, with a similar angular and spectral resolution that is possible now for the CMB, what would ...
7
votes
4answers
637 views

What does ionization of neutral Hydrogen have to do with “transparency”?

Most accounts of the early history of the Universe make some reference to (re)ionization as being the reason that the Universe becomes transparent after a period of opacity caused by the absence of ...
7
votes
4answers
598 views

de sitter cosmologic limit

It has been said that our universe is going to eventually become a de sitter universe. Expansion will accelerate until their relative speed become higher than the speed of light. So i want to ...
6
votes
4answers
624 views

Is space unending?

Is the space unending, i.e it has no boundaries? If yes, how can a thing exist which is non-ending? Its impossible for me to imagine something like that. Secondly, if its not and has boundaries then ...
5
votes
2answers
281 views

Questions about the Jeans length

I have a couple of questions about the Jeans length. Suppose the universe has a homogeneous energy density, except there's a spherical region that is overdense. I understand that if the region is ...
5
votes
3answers
334 views

Is observable universe an explanation against Olbers' paradox?

First of all, let me tell you that I'm not a physicist but rather a computer scientist with a mere interest in physics at nowhere near a professional level so feel free to close this question if it ...
5
votes
3answers
396 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 ...
4
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1answer
233 views

Why does the Hubble parameter keep getting smaller if the expansion of the universe accelerates?

Suppose a region of space at a distance D from Earth is escaping from us with the velocity v. Since it seems like the expansion of the universe is accelerating, things at D from Earth should be ...
4
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1answer
109 views

How can contracting dimensions lead to cosmological inflation?

Using the Kasner metric, given by $$ ds^2 = -dt^2 + \sum_{j=1}^D t^{2p_j}(dx^j) $$ it is possible to not only describe the cosmological expansion of some space directions (the ones with positive ...
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Could Dust Equation of State have some negative pressure?

Traditionally the cosmological equation of state of cold matter (so-called dust) is simply: $$p = 0.$$ But, in Newtonian terms, each particle is gravitationally attracting every other particle. ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

What is the difference between matter & spacetime? [duplicate]

If the universe is expanding why doesn't the matter in it expand proportionally making it seem as if the universe is static? Alternatively, as spacetime expands why does it not just slide past matter ...
3
votes
1answer
320 views

How Does Cosmology Constrain the Number of Neutrino Species?

I know that based upon theories of structure formation cosmologists can constrain the sum of the masses of neutrinos - if neutrinos were too light or too heavy it would simply change the power ...
3
votes
3answers
239 views

How much of the universes mass is bound up in photons traveling between stars?

I was watching a Scott Manley video on youtube and he mentioned that the Sun was loosing 4 million tons of mass a second as it converts to energy. With a few trillion trillion stars also converting ...
3
votes
0answers
136 views

Questions about classical and quantum scale invariance

This is kind of a continuation of this and this previous questions. Say one has a free "classical" field theory which is scale invariant and one develops a perturbative classical solution for an ...
3
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2answers
339 views

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and its relation to Inertial Frames

We know that the CMB is isotropic when viewed outside of the spinning and revolving earth. Is it homogeneous? Can we relate the CMB to an inertial frame in the Newtonian sense (in which space and ...
3
votes
1answer
210 views

If Fine Structure Constant in not uniform in space what would that imply for cosmic background?

Recently J.Webb submitted paper which has extraordinary claim - that Fine Structure Constant is different in different directions in space! He (with others) measured $\alpha$ using quasar spectrum ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

If the universe is expanding then why does the distance between Sun and the Earth is not expanding? [duplicate]

It has been proved that universe is expanding in the accelerating way. If that is true than the space between the Sun and the Earth must also be expanding. But it is not so, why?
2
votes
1answer
143 views

Varying an action (cosmological perturbation theory)

I am stuck varying an action, trying to get an equation of motion. (Going from eq. 91 to eq. 92 in the image.) This is the action $$S~=~\int d^{4}x \frac{a^{2}(t)}{2}(\dot{h}^{2}-(\nabla h)^2).$$ ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

acceleration of the universe

Moments after the Big Bang, the universe was expanding at an incredible rate, (I've heard) faster than the speed of light. Due to dark energy, scientists predict the rate of expansion will pick up ...
2
votes
0answers
116 views

Can decompactification explain the inflation of the early universe?

I've just reread chapter 11 of this book where it is explained among other things, that our four dimensional universe could be unstable concerning a decompactification transition, since potential ...
2
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
433 views

Can computers survive bubble nucleations?

According to string landscape theory, our vacua with a cosmological constant of $10^{-123}$ is a metastable vacua which can decay to a supersymmetric vacua with either a zero or negative cosmological ...
2
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1answer
251 views

How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?

I'll keep it simple. How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Increasing matter density in the Friedman equations?

From what I understand, the Friedman equation is $H^2=\frac{8\pi G}{3} \rho$ and the $H$, the Hubble constant, is a measure of the rate of expansion of the universe. What I am confused about is that ...
1
vote
2answers
55 views

Infinite space or finite space?

I have been reading about the nature of space (Brian Greene's and Max Tegmark's recent books) and have a question on the size of space. Both references acknowledge that general relativity equations ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Reconciling “The Big Crunch” with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Assume "The Big Crunch" scenario (the universe will collapse to a singularity). In this case, I think of the entire universe as an isolated system; in the "Big Crunch" scenario, it seems to me gravity ...
1
vote
1answer
346 views

Photon on null geodesic

If given an FRW metric $ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)[dx^2+dy^2+dz^2]$ and for the trajectory followed by a photon (null geodesic; $ds^2=0$) with affine parameter $\lambda$, know that ...
1
vote
1answer
458 views

Can the Universe create itself?--Is Gott's Use of CTC in Planck time or less valid?

My question is the title of a 1991 paper by Richard Gott and Li-Xin Li: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9712344 and is also a subject of his popular book, "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe" Ultimately ...
11
votes
2answers
737 views

How is it possible the universe expanded faster than the speed of light during inflation?

In a documentary written in collaboration with Stephen Hawking, the narrator (supposedly Stephen Hawkings) says that by the time the cosmos was 10 minutes old, it had already expanded thousands of ...
10
votes
3answers
955 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
231 views

Will entropy continue to increase even if the universe begins to contract?

If the universe is heading for a big crunch, when the universe starts to collapse will entropy decrease and the arrow of time consequently reverse or not? I'm interested in the explanations, not just ...