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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Can/has string theory solved cosmological constant problem?

Can someone explain to me what the KKLT paper says, and what has and hasn't it achieved regarding the ability to construct solutions with a small positive or negative cosmological constant in string ...
5
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3answers
441 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
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5answers
368 views

Is dark matter around the Milky Way spread in a spiral shape (or, in a different shape)?

Dark matter doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation, but it, at least, participates in gravitational interactions as known from the discovery of dark matter. But does dark matter exist in a ...
5
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2answers
757 views

Abundances of the light element of the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis

This question is related to the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis of light elements, more concretely I do not understand some features of the graph Why do the $^3$He and D abundances go down with ...
5
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6answers
2k views

Does gravity slow the expansion of the universe?

Does gravity slow the expansion of the universe? I read through the thread http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=322633 and I have the same question. I know that the universe is not being ...
4
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2answers
86 views

Are orbits possible in de sitter space?

Since the de sitter space has constant positive curvature does that mean that objects can't orbit around other objects?
4
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1answer
303 views

Is dark energy around a black hole locally curved?

The repartition of dark energy in the vacuum is homogeneous all over the universe. The diagram below represents space with a black hole in the middle. The square is divided in small unit squares. If ...
4
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1answer
22 views

Deriving the deceleration parameter of a universe whose density is dominated by matter

Assuming that the density of the universe is dominated by matter, so that $\rho = \rho_m$, how can the deceleration parameter today be shown to be $q_0 = \frac{\Omega_m}{2} - \Omega_{\Lambda}$ The ...
4
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1answer
138 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 ...
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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
54 views

Qualtitative explanation for the link between low magnitude of high z supernova and accelerated expansion

Is there any explanation on a qualitative level why we can see in the observed magnitude vs. redshift z plot that the universe is expanding accelerated? See for example here: http://hyperphysics.phy-...
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0answers
60 views

squeezed radiation astronomy

Squeezed electromagnetic vacuum does have a renormalized energy density smaller than the vacuum. So it makes it in my opinion a inconspicuous candidate for a dark energy carrier. Are there ...
4
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3answers
461 views

Question on inflation

I have two particular questions regarding the inflationary scenario. They are: 1.) What is the physical origin of the inflaton field? 2.) Why has the potential of the inflation field its particular ...
3
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1answer
132 views

A true singularity at $t=0$, coordinate independent Big Bang

Consider a flat Robertson-Walker metric. When we say that there is a singularity at $t=0$, clearly it is a coordinate dependent statement. So it is a "candidate" singularity. In principle there is ...
3
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1answer
348 views

Time slowing down vs. universe expanding

Einstein said that it is impossible to distinguish between the effect of gravity and acceleration (so if you stand in an accelerating elevator in space it would not feel any different than if you were ...
3
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1answer
181 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 ...
3
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1answer
242 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 ...
3
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3answers
354 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
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0answers
111 views

Were fermions ever massless?

In a discussion of the Standard model and Higgs mechanism it was claimed that accordingly: "During an early phase of the cosmos all fermions were massless." I wonder whether this claim can be ...
3
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1answer
168 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
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1answer
616 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 ...
2
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1answer
195 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
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0answers
51 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?
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0answers
139 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
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3answers
342 views

Is the accelerated expansion of the universe consistent with conservation of energy? [duplicate]

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed, how come the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate? Where does this energy come from?
2
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1answer
269 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
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1answer
225 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
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1answer
382 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 ...
2
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1answer
310 views

How come that an Infinite universe will collapse under gravity?

In this PSE post the issue is about the stability of an infinite universe under Newtonian gravity. Here I'will drop the Newtonian constraint because we know of the finite speed of interactions and I ...
2
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3answers
468 views

Have CMB photons “cooled” or been “stretched”?

Introductory texts and popular accounts of why we see the "once hot" CMB as microwaves nearly always say something about the photons "cooling" since the Big Bang. But isn't that misleading? Don't ...
2
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1answer
828 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 $g_{\mu\nu}\,\frac{...
2
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1answer
338 views

How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?

I'll keep it simple. How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?
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0answers
587 views

Is large-scale “time reversal” (Poincaré recurrence) possible given infinite time?

The following are some assumptions I'm basing my question on, from what (little) I understand of physics. I list them so an expert can (kindly) tell me where I'm going wrong. There is a probability ...
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2answers
125 views

Could the missing antimatter lie outside the observable universe?

While I was reading a similar question asking if other galaxy could be made of antimatter, to which the answer was: if they were, we should detect the radiation from matter interacting with antimatter ...
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1answer
86 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 ...
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2answers
65 views

Is the expanding of the universe also a cause which can induce gravitational waves from mass? [duplicate]

Gravitational waves arises when mass is rotating in another mass'orbital, in explosions and of course in case of colliding black holes. But are they also created when mass is moving and speeding ...
1
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1answer
109 views

How fast am I moving? [duplicate]

Given the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second and that it is constant through out the universe, (i.e a person who measures the speed of light while standing still will get the same result ...
1
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1answer
201 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 ...
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2answers
157 views

Could these hypothetical very long distance properties of light offer alternatives to an expanding universe or a finite number of galaxies?

Assume that there could be a property of light that it gets very gradually steadily red-shifted by traveling large astronomical distances, in exactly the same way that Doppler shift from receding ...
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1answer
1k views

Branes Collision -> Big Bang

Imagine universe occurred when two parallel branes collided, Momentum of Branes converted to big bang kinetic energy after Collision. Thus, high-energy quanta are high-Vibrating strings. what ...
0
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1answer
87 views

Expansion of the universe in “everyday live” [duplicate]

According to space.com the universe is expanding with 75km/1Mpc/1s (megaparsec), which comes down to $\beta=2.43\times10^{-18}/s$, a relative rate per second. To put this in perspective: The average ...
12
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4answers
94 views

Can we observe changes in the fine-structure constant?

The fine structure constant is a number of constants rolled into one equation. Brian Cox mentioned in the April edition of Focus magazine that it is possible that the speed of light was once faster, ...
12
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2answers
449 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
498 views

How would cold neutrinos get trapped by stars?

Continuing on from the cool physics Q&A'd on the threads Where are all the slow neutrinos?, Is it possible that all "spontaneous nuclear decay" is actually "slow neutrino" ...
9
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3answers
151 views

What's dark matter and who discovered it?

I have heard about dark matter that's called the Master Of The Universe. What's this and is the dark matter the reason galaxies exist?
8
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1answer
2k views

In what sense does the universe have an outer edge?

I'm having trouble understanding something about Susskind's Holographic principle. Susskind speaks about the surface of the universe? In what sense does the universe have an outer surface? I'm a ...
7
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0answers
185 views

Implications of Unruh-inertia to theories of gravity

If it turns out to be true that the galaxy rotation curves can be explained away by Unruh modes that become greater than the Hubble scale at accelerations around $10^{-10} m/s^2$ as proposed in here, ...
7
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1answer
298 views

Frequency of cosmic microwave background

Some people refer to cosmic microwave background's (CMB) frame of reference as an absolute one. If I understand correctly, we can measure 'absolute' velocity in this frame by using the Doppler effect. ...
7
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1answer
112 views

Was the matter-energy content of our universe always distributed in the same ratios?

Currently, Dark energy (68.3%) and Dark matter (26.8%) together constitute about 95.1% total matter-energy content of the universe while only 4.9% is ordinary baryonic matter. Was this always the case?...
6
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1answer
214 views

Why don't orbits expand with the Universe?

Consider two bodies orbiting each other. As the Universe expands would the distance between them increase? Most people say that a gravitationally bound system will not expand with the Universe. They ...