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)

4
votes
2answers
140 views

How confident are we that mass is not being lost in the universe?

After reading about the latest super-massive black hole in Nature 518, 512–515 (26 February 2015), I couldn't help but wonder if the accelerating expansion is a result of mass being lost. Would a ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Expanding universe - does the Hubble red shift come from gravity?

Measurement of the expansion of the universe is based, in part, on the red shift of light. The speed of light is a constant, although some people argue that it may be changing over time, I am going to ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

How do we know the expansion of the universe is “of space” and not “in space” or “into space” or another less intuitive arrangement?

How do we know the expansion of the universe is "of space" and not "in space" or "into space" or another less intuitive arrangement? For example, what implicit and explicit assumptions underlie the ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Light clocks measure conformal time - detailed argument

Let us assume that an observer is stationary at the origin in expanding space. We assume the FRW metric near the origin is given by: $$ds^2=-dt^2+a(t)^2dr^2$$ Let us assume that the observer ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Why is the singularity of the Big Bang not considered to be the center of the Universe? [duplicate]

If the universe is expanding, then at some time in the past, it must have started from a single point but why this point is not the center of the Universe. Just like the singularity of black holes is ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

FRW Metric maximally symmetric, derivation, $R=3K$ or $R=6K$ confusion, two different texts

I'm looking at Tod and Hughston Introduction to GR and writing the metric in the two forms; [1]$$ ds^{2}=dt^{2}-R^{2}(t)(\frac{dr^{2}}{1-kr^{2}}+r^{2}(d\theta^{2}+sin^{2}\theta d\phi^{2})) $$ [2] $$ ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

What are galactic speeds measured against?

The Earth moves through space at 67,000 MPH. The Milky Way travels through a local group at 2,237,000 MPH. Wouldn't you need a fixed point to be able to measure velocity against? After all, compared ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

Deriving General Expression for Total Density Parameter

I'm trying to derive an expression for the total density parameter of the universe, where $\Omega_0=1.001$, as a function of the scalefactor $a$.The expression should be for a universe with curvature, ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Are ultracold atoms only created by intelligent life?

Nature has particle accelerators that are far beyond our capacity, but occasionally I hear atomic physicists claim that they are able to make something that has never been formed in any natural ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Are there any in depth superfluid mechanic analyses of spacetime?

Has there been much work done that treats particles as vortexes in a fluid, or dark matter as bubbles in this fluid (bending space in the same way massive particles (vortexes) are observed to do, but ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Spiral galaxies and gravity lenses

Spiral Galaxies must have a great deal more mass than elliptical galaxies of the same size in order to account for the flat velocity curve. I've seen references of eight to ten times the visible ...
2
votes
0answers
18 views

Fluid approximation for inflaton?

In cosmology there is a widely used fluid approximation which applies when the mean free path is very small compared to the scale of observation and then all the properties of stress energy tensor can ...
4
votes
4answers
272 views

Could dark energy be powered by force particles that obey quantum mechanics?

From what (little) I know about physics, I understand that the universe is expanding due to dark energy, and I understand that no one quite understands it yet. I also understand that the cosmic ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Is our locally measured time actually conformal time?

The FRW metric at the origin $r=0$, with $c=1$, is given by: $$ds^2=-dt^2+a(t)^2dr^2$$ Now one can change variables so that near the origin the FRW metric is approximated by the Minkowski metric ...
7
votes
3answers
327 views

Recommended books for a “relativity for poets” class?

I teach physics at a community college and have developed a new course titled "Relativity for Poets," which I will be teaching for the first time in spring 2015. As implied by the title, it's a ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

What happens to black holes if/when the universe “ends”

I've heard several ideas about what happens to the universe when it dies, and they range from infinite expansion and heat death, to a "big crunch". In the event that something like a "big crunch" ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Flat universe and accelerating expansion

As current data suggests that the universe is flat, a flat universe would imply a slowing expansion rather than an accelerating one which we observe. Neither in an open nor a closed universe there is ...
1
vote
0answers
134 views

Can the universe be round but still infinite?

Can the universe still be infinite in space if its curvature is > 1? Is a manifold of positive curvature necessarily compact? Does the Tarski paradox have any bearing on the finite or infinite ...
6
votes
1answer
188 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Question about universe expansion

In general relativity, we cannot determine the global structure of the universe (since it is not flat), therefore all measurements and observations are only meaningful locally. In particular, we can ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

I wonder what kind of proof we have that dark matter is really made of not-yet-discovered WIMP particles and not WISPy? [closed]

There is quite reasonable argument by Joerg Jaeckel that dark matter might be actually very light, very weakly interacting particles, so-called WISPs (for weakly interacting slim particles), as ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Do cosmic strings or global monopoles interact with magnetic field?

Does anyone know any phenomenon that shows the interaction between cosmic strings or global monopoles with magnetic field? I looked for that in Vilenkin and Shellard's book but, as I'm not a ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Are we really sure that the whole universe is expanding?

Haven't we thought about the possibility of only a region of the universe is expanding? What about space is expanding in this region and space is compressed in another region, that satisfies the ...
1
vote
1answer
48 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

The actual space curvature

What is the curvature of our physical space, according to the latest experimental data? I've found it somewhat difficult to find a definitive answer to the question, because the spacetime curvature ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Is the Weyl Postulate correct?

The Weyl postulate in cosmology states that worldlines do not intersect but it can be shown in GR that using Raychaudhuri equation that geodesics can intersect if there is curvature so I'm really ...
-4
votes
0answers
44 views

Can the Milky Way's halo be considered to be curved spacetime? [duplicate]

Scientists are beginning to understand dark matter fills 'empty' space. Dark matter which fills 'empty' space would be displaced by the matter. The Milky Way's halo would be the state of displacement ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Are atomic energies increasing as the Universe expands? [duplicate]

Starting from the FRW metric (for simplicity flat space, radial direction only): $$ds^2=-c^2dt^2+a(t)^2dr^2$$ If we take $dt=0$ then the proper distance $ds(t)$ between two spatially separated ...
13
votes
1answer
759 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Calculating energy density in the early Universe

I've been told to calculate the energy density in the early Universe. It states that it is completely dominated by neutrinos (3 species), photons, electrons, and positrons. Now, I've found an ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Dumbed-down explanation how scientists know the number of atoms in the universe?

It is often quoted that the number of atoms in the universe is 10$^{70}$ or 10$^{80}$. How do scientists determine this number? And how accurate is it (how strong is the supporting evidences for ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

How many electrons are there in the universe?

Someone on io9 estimated there were about 10^80 electrons in the universe, but I want to ask the Stack Exchange physics community.
0
votes
1answer
26 views

Does the readoption of the cosmological constant apply across all models of GR?

I'm currently reading about cosmology, and the reintroduction of the cosmological constant, Lambda, into the field equations, to give a more accurate model for cosmology. My question is this: If it ...
2
votes
0answers
76 views

Is the Boltzmann brain problem really clearly established as a problem?

Starting from the assumption of a cosmology in which Boltzmann brains dominate over evolved ones, it is not immediately obvious to me that there is a real problem, since only Boltzmann brains ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Tachyonic field

i'm working on a paper about symmetron cosmology. symmetron is a scalar field that by its symmetry breaking can explain the dark energy. the action is: ans A , V are assumed to be: where M ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Linear Perturbation theory in General Relativity, what to do with products of derivatives?

I'm trying to do a problem in which I am given the Einstein tensor for the following metric: $$ ds^2 = -e^{2\Phi}(d{x^0})^2 + e^{2\Psi}\delta_{ij}dx^idx^j, $$ And then asked to find the Einstein ...
2
votes
4answers
158 views

Does big bang have really any justification while we are living within a huge chaos?

All the physicists already know that the n-body problem reveals chaos, so that the planets around the sun should undergo deterministic chaos with a Lyapunov exponent of the order of, say, ...
-4
votes
1answer
82 views

Is dark matter moving faster than light? [closed]

My way of thinking is as follows: Consider a balloon. Let this be blown into a nearly elliptical sphere. Now, the temperature inside the balloon is increased by some means; this leads to the ...
6
votes
4answers
779 views

Does (it make sense to say that ) the universe has a center?

I was reading this page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/23/brian-cox-jeff-forshaw-answers and I found this sentence by Brian Cox: That seems to imply that everything is flying away ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

What does inflationary theory explain which quantum entanglement cannot?

Introduction This is an honest question... I don't study inflationary theory extensively (This is an understatement) but I am lost as to why it was developed in the first place. Here is why: ...
3
votes
3answers
280 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
13 views

Power spectrum calculation for simple inflaton potential

I am trying to obtain an expression for the power spectrum $\Delta (k)$ of cosmological perturbations, see for example eqn (148) from the following TASI lectures. Right now, I would like to use the ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Connection between the cosmological constant $\Lambda$ and the cutoff scale $\Lambda$

I'm trying to understand the connection between the $\Lambda$ from cosmology and the $\Lambda$ from QFT. Cosmology: The cosmological constant enters the Einstein equations. In the special case of the ...
4
votes
3answers
275 views

Do photons lose energy due to gravitational redshift? If so, where does the lost energy go? [duplicate]

In the gravitational redshift, the frequency of photons radiated from some source is reduced. As the energy of a photon is given by $\hbar\omega$, if the frequency is reduced where is the lost energy? ...
0
votes
0answers
71 views

Big Bang…or…Everywhere Stretch?

Recently I watched a minute-physics video that suggested that a better name for the beginning of time would be "Everywhere stretch" because there wasn't a space-time singularity that formed where the ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

What is the limit for the size of a galaxy?

The largest known galaxy is just 100x more massive than Milky Way. I wonder if there is some physical mechanism (some equilibrium) which limits the size of galaxies or if it is just because of limited ...
-1
votes
2answers
50 views

Expanding universe and speed of light [duplicate]

Galaxies are moving away from us proportional to the distance between us and them , but nothing can travel faster than light, so even the farmost galaxies should be travelling away from us along with ...
3
votes
3answers
211 views

Books on cosmology

I am a 14 year old who is independently studying physics. I finished the book: Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity by Sean Carroll. I am specifically interested in cosmology, ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Why do we form cosmological theories based on old data?

Since the light we receive from distant galaxies may be between 7 and 14 billion light years away, the redshift we see indicates that the universe was expanding at that time (7 to 14 billion years ...
1
vote
1answer
222 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 ...