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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

9
votes
2answers
561 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)} \...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

How did the universe shift from “dark matter dominated” to “dark energy dominated”?

In order to get dark energy to dominate, wouldn't you first need another form of energy to push the expansion until dark energy could dominate? Otherwise I don't understand how the universe could ...
15
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
416 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 ...
17
votes
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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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?
8
votes
1answer
367 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
661 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
702 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
439 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 ...
12
votes
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
votes
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?
6
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
748 views

If the size of universe doubled

My question is silly formulated, but I want to know if there is some sensible physical question buried in it: Suppose an exact copy of our universe is made, but where spatial distances and sizes are ...
5
votes
2answers
543 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
297 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 ...
4
votes
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
votes
3answers
837 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
votes
1answer
871 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Zero energy universe [duplicate]

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
508 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?
9
votes
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), ...
7
votes
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
votes
4answers
677 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), ...
5
votes
1answer
271 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
votes
1answer
183 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
1answer
621 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
votes
1answer
480 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?
4
votes
1answer
212 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 ...
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
4answers
4k 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? ...
3
votes
2answers
187 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
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
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
3
votes
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
votes
2answers
707 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
1answer
452 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 but ...
2
votes
1answer
205 views

Immediately after the Big Bang, was the universe in a state of extremely low or extremely high entropy?

Phase space theory suggests that the largest course-graining region, $p$, in a phase space, $P$, is the point in the phase space with the highest entropy. As such, it is in thermal equilibrium with ...
2
votes
2answers
348 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
0answers
116 views

Does cosmological time expand like space does?

The FRW metric is given by: $$ds^2=-dt^2+a^2(t)\ dr^2$$ where $ds$ is an interval of proper length, $dt$ is an interval of cosmic time, $dr$ is an interval of co-moving co-ordinate distance and $a(t)$ ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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
vote
1answer
698 views

What caused the expansion of the universe to slow down after the inflationary epoch?

As everyone knows, when the big bang happened, the universe expanded at an unbelievable rate and this was called the inflationary epoch (or more popularly cosmological inflation) which lasted for ...
1
vote
1answer
161 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
299 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
96 views

Why should I believe that matter does not expand along with the space between it [duplicate]

This question has been asked before under other guises. I am not a scientific profesional however i have some schooling in pyhsics and mathematics and have a keen interest in these subjects. It seems ...
8
votes
2answers
342 views

Is there a consensus on the fate of our universe?

We all know that our universe is inflating from what is known as the Big Bang. However, will our universe continue to inflate at the current rate? Or after reaching a maximum size, will it collapse in ...