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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7
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2answers
579 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 ...
7
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4answers
851 views

Baryon asymmetry

Baryon asymmetry refers to the observation that apparently there is matter in the Universe but not much antimatter. We don't see galaxies made of antimatter or observe gamma rays that would be ...
5
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1answer
628 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 ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Where is radiation density in the Planck 2013 results?

I've been looking at the Planck 2013 cosmological parameters paper, trying to update my toy cosmology simulator with the most recent data. Most of the interesting values such as $H_0$, $\Omega_m$, ...
4
votes
0answers
141 views

Can space move? [closed]

I have some questions; I hope you don't mind: $\bullet$ If the space between two distance galaxies is increasing, then is the volumes of space in which the galaxies find themselves also moving apart? ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

How far can something travel in a straight line?

Suppose you have an object some distance from you and moving at a velocity different to the Hubble velocity you'd expect at that point. How does the motion of this object change with time? Does it ...
4
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3answers
111 views

If empty space has energy, and space is expanding, is this energy equally distributed as space expands?

The cosmological constant (dark energy) is often described in terms of empty space having a non 0 energy value and this energy being the source of the accelerated expansion of the universe. If space ...
4
votes
1answer
188 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

What happens at the interface between two universes with opposite thermodynamic arrows of time? [closed]

I was trying to think but cannot figure it out. For instance, if the interaction is small, for instance limited to a windows, the observers in each universe will see that the other goes in reverse. ...
4
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3answers
775 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?
3
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2answers
144 views

Why is “gravitational” red-shift neglected in galaxy and galaxy cluster scales?

The red-shift of the light of a star in a galaxy or that of a galaxy in a cluster of galaxies is generally interpreted as how fast the star or the galaxy is moving, i.e. it is interpreted in a purely ...
3
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3answers
183 views

'Doppler redshift' Vs 'Cosmological redshift'

It is not difficult to understand the differences between 'Doppler redshift' and 'Cosmological redshift' conceptually. But how do astronomers distinguish them when doing observations?
3
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1answer
59 views

Spacial curvature and expanding space

If we take the analogy that in an empty space the space is just a flat sheet then if there is a single planet or a star then the flat sheet will curve below the planet leaving a curvature shaped like ...
3
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2answers
1k views

What's the avarage temperature of the Universe?

I'm sorry if this was asked before but with all the stars and dark matter and all the other stuff, curently in the Universe, what's the avarage temperature of the Universe? Is it like extremely high ...
3
votes
3answers
308 views

How do we know for certain that space is expanding?

How do we know for certain that space is expanding? Let's say that in the year 1950, we observe that galaxy 1 is 5 billion light years away from us and galaxy 2 is 10 billion light years away from ...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

Cosmic radiation cutoff at LOW energies?

The energy spectrum of the cosmic radiation (not CMB) is limited to both sides. I know about the GZK-cutoff at high energies. Basically the interaction probability for photons of energies above 10^20 ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Why did formation of the first stars (population III) not happen earlier?

Was it the cooling of the universe? Naively, I would expect the lowering density to work against star formation.
2
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1answer
392 views

How is it possible that we see light from shortly after the big bang?

How can astronomers see light from shortly after the big bang? How did we get "here" before the light that emanated from our "creation"?
2
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0answers
90 views

Topics in particle cosmology [closed]

I am interested in learning more about this interdisciplinary approach. 1) What are some of the top questions in particle cosmology (e.g nature of dark matter, inflationary structure, topological ...
2
votes
4answers
517 views

How long does it take for expanding space to double in size?

I have been reading about Hubble's constant and trying to make 'sense' of the theory of the expanding Universe. Is is possible that space in the universe expands uniformly? If so, absent of other ...
1
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1answer
171 views

Are we comoving observers of space expansion?

In cosmology: A comoving observer is the only observer that will perceive the universe, including the cosmic microwave background radiation, to be isotropic. (Wikipedia) According to this ...
1
vote
1answer
229 views

Redshift and conformal time

What is the relationship between redshift and conformal time ? For example in a paper i found: taking $z_e = 3234 $ at the time of radiaton-matter equality yields the conformal time ...
1
vote
3answers
234 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
228 views

Expanding universe and the peculiar velocity

Hubble's law states that the universe is expanding with a velocity equals Hubble's constant*distance from earth. But, recent findings show that the Andromeda galaxy is actually blueshifting towards us ...
1
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0answers
173 views

Why is “dark matter” a more parsimonious explanation than “more normal matter than we thought”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why isn't dark matter just matter ? The evidence usually presented in support of dark matter is larger-than-expected masses in galaxy clusters: the mass required for ...
0
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1answer
75 views

Do we really need inflation for horizon problem?

This is a very fundamental doubt. I think i am missing something in inflation. The inflation theory solves the horizon problem by stating all of the universe started from a very small region in ...
0
votes
1answer
755 views

Does the universe have an edge/boundary/barrier? If yes, what is at the edge? [duplicate]

My question related kind of to asking what the shape of the universe is. Say a hypothetical alien civilization built an faster-than-light spaceship. If they keep flying would they end up where they ...
0
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2answers
391 views

How does measuring redshift make us conclude that rate universe expansion is accelerating?

The universe is expanding in all directions. We can detect this by the redshift of electromagnetic radiation from other galaxies. We detect a larger redshift in galaxies which are further away, and ...
0
votes
2answers
181 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 ...
0
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0answers
91 views

Calculating the age of the Universe now and 30 billion years from now [duplicate]

I am confused about the age of the Universe. If you calculate it by $1 / H_0$, won't the answer be roughly the same today as it will be 30 billion years from now? I know $H_0$ is a parameter, not a ...
0
votes
1answer
612 views

Does the Big Bang need a cause? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: on causality and The Big Bang Theory Asking here in layman's terms.. When theoretical physicsists discuss the origin of our Universe, the wider consensus appears to be ...
17
votes
4answers
751 views

Interpretation of a singular metric

I'm interested to find out if we can say anything useful about spacetime at the singularity in the FLRW metric that occurs at $t = 0$. If I understand correctly, the FLRW spacetime is a combination ...
11
votes
2answers
499 views

The difference between The Dilaton and The Radion?

I have read this question on the Dilaton, but I am a little confused with the distinction between the Dilaton and the Radion. I definitely have the feeling that these two scalar fields are different ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Does the amount of gravitational potential energy in the universe increase as it expands?

It seems to me that extra gravitational potential energy is created as the universe expands and the distance between massive objects such as galaxy clusters increases; this implies that energy is not ...
29
votes
8answers
4k views

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero?

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero? I just do not see why our model must work the way ...
14
votes
2answers
927 views

Is the “Doctor Who” spacetime affected by Hawking's chronology protection mechanism?

Recently, there has been a paper1 (and an accompanying layman-ized white paper2) on "Traversable Achronal Retrograde Domains In Spacetime", TARDIS for short. It proposes a spacetime geometry that ...
10
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10answers
3k views

What is the most efficient way to destroy the universe? [closed]

Don't worry... I won't actually do it, just would like to know how.
13
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2answers
2k views

What exactly is meant by the “Gaussianity” of CMBR?

What does it mean when we say that the CMBR is mostly gaussian? What are non-gaussianities in CMBR? How does evaluation of 3-point correlation functions of the inflaton field tells us that there is ...
13
votes
4answers
774 views

Why didn't Newton have a cosmological constant

Einstein initially added the Cosmological Constant because (if I get this right) it seemed to him that the universe should be static. I agree that back then this would have been an obvious assumption. ...
8
votes
2answers
399 views

Do the standard cosmology models spontaneously break Lorentz symmetry?

In standard cosmology models (Friedmann equations which your favorite choice of DM and DE), there exists a frame in which the total momenta of any sufficiently large sphere, centered at any point in ...
6
votes
0answers
142 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. ...
16
votes
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 ...
14
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3answers
986 views

What is the most compelling evidence of General Relativity in the presence of matter and energy?

The most oft-cited triumphs of GR are things such as the shifting perihelion of Mercury, gravitational redshift experiments, and gravitational lensing. But, as far as I know, these are only ...
10
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4answers
971 views

Can matter leave the cosmic horizon?

Cosmic horizon in the de Sitter space is a sphere, centered at the observer with finite radius where the red shift due to cosmic expansion becomes infinite. Given that no information can be ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can we be so sure the universe has 3 dimensions?

I'm just a layman here so please bear with me if I don't get all the words or theories by correct name or whatever. I hope it will be clear enough what my question is. Here goes: When I read articles ...
6
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0answers
174 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
972 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
309 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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Is dark matter repulsive to dark matter? Why?

I think I saw in a video that if dark matter wasn't repulsive to dark matter, it would have formed dense massive objects or even black holes which we should have detected. So, could dark matter be ...
11
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2answers
323 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 ...