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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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
144 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
179 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
533 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 ...
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0answers
106 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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3answers
328 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 ...
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0answers
179 views

Questions about classical and quantum scale invariance

This is kind of a continuation of this and this previous questions. Say one has a free "classical" field theory which is scale invariant and one develops a perturbative classical solution for an ...
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4answers
3k 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? ...
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0answers
55 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 ...
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1answer
237 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 ...
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3answers
284 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?
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0answers
50 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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1answer
290 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 ...
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1answer
705 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 ...
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1answer
195 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
260 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 ...
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0answers
135 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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1answer
191 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 ...
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5answers
493 views

Can computers survive bubble nucleations?

According to string landscape theory, our vacua with a cosmological constant of $10^{-123}$ is a metastable vacua which can decay to a supersymmetric vacua with either a zero or negative cosmological ...
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1answer
311 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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2answers
396 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 ...
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1answer
72 views

Does time expand along with space? [duplicate]

The flat FRW metric is given by: $$ds^2=-c^2dt^2+a(t)^2dr^2$$ If we take $dt=0$ then we get: $$ds=a(t)\ dr$$ Thus we find that space expands. If we take $ds=0$ to find the null geodesic followed ...
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1answer
99 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 ...
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1answer
134 views

What is the identity of Dark Matter?

What is the identity of dark matter? Is it a particle? Is it the lightest superpartner (LSP)? Do the phenomena attributed to dark matter point not to some form of matter but actually to an ...
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2answers
148 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
80 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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1answer
174 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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1answer
293 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 ...
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1answer
79 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 ...
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2answers
81 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 ...
12
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4answers
88 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, ...
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2answers
388 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

In what sense does the universe have an outer edge?

I'm having trouble understanding something about Suskind's Holographic principle. Suskind speaks about the surface of the universe? In what sense does the universe have an outer surface? I'm a bit ...
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1answer
286 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. ...
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2answers
342 views

When was the cosmic background radiation in the visible spectrum?

From what I understand about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is that it was from the big bang, and since space has streched and become bigger since then the wavelength of the CMBR has ...
6
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0answers
176 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, ...
6
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2answers
100 views

Is there any chance we could eventually observe the supernova of the first (Population III) stars

In an answer to my previous question about the first stars it was stated they probably formed at Z=20 to Z=60 and may have had a mass between tens to 100s to 1000s of times the mass of the Sun. Given ...
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 $H_0$, $\Omega_m$, ...
5
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1answer
188 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 ...
5
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1answer
2k views

How the CMB anisotropy is linked to the existence of cold dark matter and dark energy?

After the data from the cosmic microwave background has been collected by WMAP or Planck, what types of analysis is needed to conduct in order to deduce the cold dark matter density and the ...
5
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1answer
455 views

Does the current acceleration of universe imply that our universe is open?

Does the current acceleration of universe imply that our universe is open? If the universe is closed, from the Friedmann's equation, the acceleration of universe wouldn't be possible, would it be? (Of ...
5
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1answer
227 views

Do black holes play a role in quantum decoherence?

Sorry for such a vague question but I could have sworn I read somewhere that Hawking proposed the reason we might see a classically appearing universe is due to the possible role of black holes in ...
4
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1answer
85 views

In what manner does momentum of a particle with mass decrease due to spatial expansion?

I've read that the momentum of particles declines due to the universe's expansion. In particular, that $p \propto \frac{1}{a}$, where $a$ is the scale factor. For light, this momentum reduction ...
4
votes
2answers
407 views

Age of the universe and the singularity at the Big Bang

Using the standard model of cosmology we calculate the Hubble time to obtain an estimate of the age of the universe. This model assumes a beginning of time in the past. But that point is a true ...
4
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2answers
334 views

Estimating the expansion of the universe using light from supernova

I understand that you can tell how far light has traveled by the measuring redshift but how accurate is this and could it be effected by anything like radiation from the sun it must be fairly accurate ...
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2answers
7k views

What does a galaxy orbit?

Moons orbit planets, planets orbit stars, and stars orbit the center of a galaxy. So, my question is what does a galaxy orbit? The center of universe? (I know that the universe has no center)
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3answers
304 views

Could Dark Matter particles that don't couple to quarks or leptons have been produced?

With what we know about physics, is it possible that when the universe 'began', around when quarks and leptons were produced, another particle, which doesn't couple to either quarks, leptons or ...
4
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3answers
644 views

Why cosmic background radiation is not ether?

why cosmic background radiation is not ether? I mean it's everywhere and it' a radiation then we can measure Doppler effect by moving with a velocity.
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3answers
927 views

Looking out into the universe means looking back in time - how does that work?

This is a question that has been gnawing on me for many years now. Back a long time ago, as I recall in reference to a scene in a popular science show on TV, I was asked the following. The claim is ...
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2answers
310 views

Total Energy of the Universe? [duplicate]

I've heard the total energy is zero, but I've also heard it cannot be said to be zero since there's so much unknown stuff in the universe. Is that true?