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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512 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
189 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
202 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
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2answers
786 views

CMBR temperature over time?

How has CMBR temperature dropped as function of time? A graph would be nice, but I'd be happy with times (age of universe) when it cooled enough to not be visible to human eye, became room temperature ...
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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 ...
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4answers
261 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 ...
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3answers
156 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
512 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 ...
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2answers
546 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)} ...
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3answers
3k 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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3answers
988 views

Is “now” or “the present moment” properly defined in GR?

My question is about the extent to which "now" is defined in GR. In Minkowski spacetime, it's possible to define a "now" for an inertial observer by finding a spacelike 3-plane such that, in the ...
13
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2answers
2k views

When did the first carbon nucleus in the Universe come into existence?

I am a chemist with a passion for astrophysics and particle physics, and one of the most marvellous things I have learned in my life is the process of stellar nucleosynthesis. It saddens me how my ...
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1answer
689 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 ...
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3answers
401 views

Tired light red shift hypothesis

Have there been any recent attempts to falsify the tired light hypothesis alternative to the Doppler shift explanation for the red shift, or is it simply ignored like the pilot wave quantum mechanical ...
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3answers
2k views

Why is the sky dark at night? [duplicate]

The question is the well-known Olbers' paradox: If there are so many/infinite stars, in every direction, why is it dark at night? Where goes all the light we don't see? Discussing with a friend ...
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2answers
3k 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 expansion of space the same way. Also ...
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3answers
2k 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?
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1answer
350 views

Differentiating the gravitational redshift and the cosmological redshift?

If general relativity accounts for a redshift, independent of inflation, how can we still know that inflation is viable? Moreover, how do we differentiate the the gravitational redshift and the ...
3
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2answers
8k 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 ...
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1answer
421 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 ...
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8answers
2k views

As the universe ages, will we see more stars or less?

After a very long time will we see more stars (due to the fact that more light is get to us) or less stars (as the universe expends and light have to pass larger distance)? In general, can stellar ...
8
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1answer
475 views

Are the distances we measure to objects in the universe incorrect because of their relative motion?

For example the agreed distance to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years, and consequentially, we see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago! (A time interval in which the galaxy must ...
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2answers
1k 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?
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2answers
2k views

Physical laws prior the big bang (quantum fluctuations)

A theory among scientists says that quantum fluctuations caused the big bang and created the universe. This seems plausible to me. What I can't grasp yet is how a quantum fluctuation can even start ...
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1answer
225 views

Speed of light and current dimensions of the universe [duplicate]

I've seen several documentaries explaining that the diameter of the universe is currently estimated at over 90 billion light-years. And which that - in the face of the age of the universe being about ...
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5answers
598 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
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0answers
296 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 ...
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3answers
830 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, ...
2
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1answer
808 views

Difference between Gunn Peterson trough and the Lyman Alpha Forest? Cosmological implications?

I'm having difficulty understanding the full implications of the Lyman alpha forest and its use in cosmology. My understanding is this: we detect features in the Intergalactic Medium (IGM) by very ...
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3answers
1k views

Is the edge of our Hubble Sphere within our Cosmic Event Horizon and why?

I was recently shown a pretty cool video about common cosmological misconceptions. It got me reviewing the different between event horizon (current distance within which we will see/interact), ...
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3answers
922 views

Could a ship equipped with Alcubierre drive theoretically escape from a black hole?

Could a ship equipped with Alcubierre drive theoretically escape from a black hole? Also, could it reach parts of the universe that are receding faster than the speed of light from us?
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4answers
1k 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
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4answers
662 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), ...
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1answer
266 views

Is inflation theory really dead?

I know the title is little bit challenging but maybe most of you heard about the last BICEP2 paper on February. As I have read about it here and here. My understanding is, BICEP2 results released on ...
5
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1answer
173 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
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1answer
618 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 ...
5
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1answer
471 views

How and why will the Milky way collide with the Andromeda?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding.How come the milky way and the andromeda are on a collision course?How will they end up colliding with each other?
5
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3answers
822 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
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0answers
124 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 ...
4
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1answer
210 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 ...
3
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2answers
170 views

How to understand the lifespan of large-scale cosmological structures?

When a star is said to live for 1 billion years, is that relative to the 'average cosmological time unit' or local time in the star's gravitational field? Also, if the sun is said to have 5 billion ...
3
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3answers
156 views

Is it valid to apply Einstein's Relativity to scenarios involving expansion of space?

IIs it valid to apply Einstein's Relativity to scenarios involving expansion of space? For a practical example of this: Is it legitimate to speak of distant red-shift galaxies as experiencing time ...
3
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1answer
249 views

Difference between horizon and flatness problems & how inflation solves flatness (w/out math)

Layman here so I'm hoping for an answer for my query that doesn't involve math. I'm reading about inflation and how it solves the flatness and horizon problems. I get that the horizon problem deals ...
3
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1answer
441 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
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3answers
238 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
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1answer
185 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 ...