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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Could the universe be a series of Big Bangs? [closed]

Imagine an eruption of energy/mass $E$ from a singularity $O$, as in a Big Bang. After the energy/mass $E$ is all at more than a distance $d$ from $O$, is it for some value of $d$ possible that there ...
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0answers
34 views

Is Dark Energy Pushing Us Or Pulling Us? [duplicate]

This may seem silly, but how do they know that the effects we are seeing from dark energy, (which we only assume must be there due to observed acceleration), are not from gravity pulling us out from ...
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5answers
345 views

If you shoot a light beam behind the event horizon of a black hole, what happens to the light?

I have a couple of questions about light here, and sorry of they are silly.. So since anything that goes beyond the event horizon can't go out, so what if a light beam was pointed somewhere behind ...
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1answer
36 views

Does the universal expansion affect the gravitational constant?

If the universe was not expanding, would gravity be stronger? since the expansion happens everywhere and can overcome gravity at long distances? If not, then are there any changes that would happen to ...
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1answer
55 views

Open Big Bang-less universe?

This came up in discussion around a class I'm taking. For a Universe with $\Lambda$ and matter contributions to energy density (and implicitly curvature, but no radiation), can you have a universe ...
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19 views

Link for resource on cosmology [duplicate]

I have recently just begun studying cosmology. I have a background in physics. I would like a link to download video resources on Stephan Hawking's theories on physics and/or cosmology that have not ...
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0answers
34 views

Book suggestion for Theoretical Physics with easy maths [duplicate]

I am a Computer Scientist with literature interest in theoretical physics. I have already read books such as A Brief History of Time and Physics of the Impossible, and I am looking for suggestion for ...
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3answers
145 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 ...
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1answer
83 views

Size of the Universe: Curved vs flat? Finite vs infinite?

I have recently heard the theory that the Universe may be smaller than observed but may be curved to the extent that light rays may have looped past us once already and hence appear to have originated ...
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1answer
65 views

Is redshift the only way by which we can tell that space is expanding?

There's another question on physics.SE whose answer, if I have understood it correctly, explains that the farther the points are in space the faster they are moving away from each other. Actually, ...
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1answer
37 views

Does the rate of expansion of the universe exceed the rate at which the local group is being pulled toward the Great Attractor?

I understand that the expansion rate of the universe driven dark energy exceeds the rate at which the local group is being pulled toward The Great Attractor (Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster). Does this ...
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1answer
71 views

Inflation in a closed universe or a stage 1 multiverse?

With the discovery of gravitational waves, Max Tegmark has been using this to promote his level 1 multiverse in that the universe is open (non-compact) and everything duplicates. My question is, are ...
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2answers
132 views

How does “space” expand? [duplicate]

According to Big Bang theory and The Red shift theory "space" is "expanding". Keeping this notion of "space" as physically something in and of itself(space -time did not exist before The Big Bang); ...
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1answer
82 views

Is the Universe Past-Eternal?

Does the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem definitively demonstrate that the Universe cannot be past-eternal, whatsoever? Does it not assume a classical space-time while the real world requires Quantum ...
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1answer
91 views

Does inflation predict a multiverse?

Does inflation necessarily predict a multiverse? Or is it the case that "It all depends on the properties of the initial field responsible for inflation, about which we can only speculate"?
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1answer
73 views

Null Geodesics in Einstein Universe

I am currently taking a course in General Relativity, and I've hit a bit of a roadblock with a homework assignment. We are given the metric for Einstein's universe to be (forgive me, this is meant to ...
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1answer
134 views

The first $10^{-35}$ seconds [closed]

I am a rank amateur, so please forgive me if the answer to this is well-known. The following quote can in a weekly update for an EdX course I am following in astrophysics: "And what a week it's ...
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2answers
201 views

When did the first carbon atom 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
130 views

How does the Cosmic Microwave Background give us information about the Big Bang?

I was reading about CMB after this new breakthrough last week and I could not figure this out. The CMB did not exist before the epoch of Last Scattering. They were just photons which were formed at ...
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1answer
113 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 ...
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2answers
322 views

Light takes too long to get here

When looking at the night sky, we see lots of stars. Several places tell you that the light of those stars has traveled to many light years to reach Earth and there may be others where light has not ...
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1answer
73 views

What is $\phi$ as refered to in Guth 2007?

In this 2007 paper by Alan Guth discussing eternal cosmic inflation, he start's using a value $\phi$ on page 8. My understanding is that $\phi$ is the scalar field representing the dark energy of a ...
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0answers
38 views

Metric to describe an expanding spacetime from coordinates reflecting the perspective of a local observer

The FLRW metric describes the metric expansion of spacetime from the perspective of comoving coordinates. Given the way this metric is usually formulated, comoving distances stay constant, and the ...
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0answers
175 views

If nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, how can there be parts of the universe we can't see? [duplicate]

Assuming we originated from a single infinitely dense point in space time in the big bang, how can there be parts of the universe that we can't see as the light has not reached us yet, if nothing can ...
3
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1answer
122 views

Many times speed of light [duplicate]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/theory-of-everything-big-bang-discovery_n_5019126.html What does "many times speed of light" really mean in this context? For a layman it's easy to draw wrong ...
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1answer
120 views

What's the meaning of the age of the universe?

I'm not asking about how we worked backward from an expanding universe to the age of the big bang, but rather what is the meaning of time in a near infinitely dense point in the context of general ...
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118 views

In the B mode power spectrum, what is the relationship between the multipole number and the wavelength of the seed gravitational waves?

One of the key datasets of the recent BICEP2 results is the B mode power spectrum shown below. The existence of these B modes implies the existence of gravitational waves prior to inflation. My ...
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0answers
79 views

Current state of the existence of absolute space debate [closed]

Samir Okasha writes about the controversy concerning the existence of absolute space in Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (2002): One of the intriguing things about the ...
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1answer
139 views

What is the solution of general relativity for our universe? [duplicate]

So I just finished off learning quantum mechanics and special relativity. I just realized that in general relativity, there is Einstein field equation which must be solved in order to talk about ...
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1answer
39 views

Recession of galaxies

when you take such a given galaxy and it is said that you are moving away from us with a speed $v$, what do you mean really? Let me explain: is the galaxy itself which has an intrinsic velocity of ...
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2answers
93 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 ...
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0answers
26 views

Fate of largest scale structures?

In $\Lambda\mathrm{CDM}$, structures form "bottom up" with larger structures forming later. Structures are generally speaking supported by the velocity dispersion of their constituent objects (e.g. ...
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1answer
218 views

The BICEP2 data are evidence of gravitational waves and of inflation. Are they also the first observation that requires quantum gravity?

It strikes me that the recent announcement of data from BICEP2 contains two really Big Deals: the first evidence of gravitational waves the first evidence of inflation. Is there also a third? ...
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1answer
139 views

Which BICEP2 r value should be compared to Planck's r<0.11?

The BICEP2 paper reports a tensor/scalar ratio $r = 0.20_{-0.05}^{+0.07}$, but then says: Subtracting the various dust models and re-deriving the r constraint still results in high significance of ...
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1k views

The age of the universe

Many times I have read statements like, "the age of the universe is 14 billion years" . For example this wikipedia page Big Bang. Now, my question is, which observers' are these time intervals? ...
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2answers
68 views

CMB curly B-modes and dark matter

I raised a question a while ago regarding weak gravitational lensing of galaxies and the CMB. With all the fuzz with the BICEP2 data, I think it is time to raise even more questions about this amazing ...
3
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1answer
160 views

What is the minisuperspace Lagrangian for gravity plus a scalar field?

In this paper by Sean Carroll and Grant Remmen, in equation (11) they write a Lagrangian of the form $$\boxed{\mathcal{L}=3a\left(k-\dot{a}^2\right)+a^3\left[\frac{1}{2}\dot\phi^2-V(\phi)\right]}$$ ...
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1answer
40 views

Is Λ-CDM and no inflaton field compatible with the observed value of the scalar spectral index?

From the cosmic microwave background, one can extract the scalar spectral index $n_s$. It is measured to be smaller than 1 by several standard deviations. Wikipedia says that it is a parameter of the ...
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4answers
185 views

Do photons make the universe expand?

I have a problem understanding the ideas behind a basic assumption of cosmology. The Friedmann equations follow from Newtonian mechanics and conservation of Energy-momentum $(E_{kin}+E_{pot}=E_{tot})$ ...
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3answers
167 views

Is Space conserved [closed]

Can space be created or destroyed? Is space conserved? I am not asking for matter,energy and time. Its just a question about conservation of space PS: I am asking for what was there before big bang. ...
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2answers
145 views

What do the names “E mode” and “B mode” mean? Where do they come from?

This has been bugging me a bit since the BICEP announcement, but if there are any resources that answer my question in a simple way, they've been buried in a slew of over-technical or over-popularized ...
9
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1answer
142 views

BICEP2 and e-foldings during inflation

After the BICEP2 results, we now know that $n_s = 0.96$ and $r = 0.2$. From what I understand, this fits extremely well with the basic chaotic inflation model given by $V(\Phi) = \lambda \Phi^4$. We ...
3
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0answers
44 views

Connection between BAO und CMB Spectrum

I have a problem understanding the connection between the accoustic peaks in the CMB spectrum and the baryon oscillation picture. On the one hand it is stated, that the odd accoustic peaks (1,3,5..) ...
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2answers
170 views

BICEP2 experiments

How was the polarization experimentally measured in the BICEP2 experiments and why did they look specifically at B-modes? Why is it implying the existence of gravitational waves and the need to ...
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1answer
249 views

What do the BICEP2 results mean for string gas cosmology and the ekpyrotic universe?

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole and released ...
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2answers
364 views

What experiments compete with BICEP 2, and when are their results expected?

The recent results of the BICEP 2 experiment published on March 17th 2014, has generated a lot of media attention, with the general consensus being that "this is a major discovery" perhaps leading to ...
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1answer
616 views

What do the line segments on the BICEP2 B-mode polarization map mean?

The first image of BICEP2 visuals shows the "BICEP2 B-mode Signal", described as follows: Gravitational waves from inflation generate a faint but distinctive twisting pattern in the ...
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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? ...
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277 views

If the universe didn't expand faster than light, would our nights brighter like day?

There's a common QnA which has amused and inspired many kids: There are billions of Stars in the sky. If we combine lights received from all stars, wouldn't it beat Sun? Why is night dark really? ...
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3answers
166 views

On Group Theory: Symmetry Groups and Our Interest

Over the past few years, I've been doing a lot of self education in the Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, and of course, there are mathematical elements of both doctrines that are matrices. ...