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7
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4answers
367 views

Applying the Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics to astrophysical objects

Quoting Wikipedia: In statistical mechanics, Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics describes the statistical distribution of material particles over various energy states in thermal equilibrium, when the ...
7
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2answers
457 views

What is “Energy” of a vacuum in the context of quantum theory?

I'm not a physicist or cosmologist, so I hope I am asking the right question with the right words here. My question regards the word "energy" as it pertains to quantum vacuum states, and to concepts ...
7
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4answers
599 views

What does ionization of neutral Hydrogen have to do with “transparency”?

Most accounts of the early history of the Universe make some reference to (re)ionization as being the reason that the Universe becomes transparent after a period of opacity caused by the absence of ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How can something finite become infinite?

How can the universe become infinite in spatial extent if it started as a singularity, wouldn't it take infinite time to expand into an infinite universe?
7
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3answers
385 views

Could a universe with purely Newtonian mechanics exist?

I've heard about the fine-tuning principle and how if the fundamental constants of the Universe were changed even a slight bit, life could not exist as we know it. However, study on this subject ...
7
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1answer
124 views

Does everything orbit around some universal “center of mass”?

I have read many questions about the center of the Universe. I even have some favorite ones. I understand the fact that every point in the universe experiences inflation the same way. Also that it ...
6
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6answers
1k views

What are the most realistic ways of high speed space propulsion?

Liquid and solid chemical fuels in rockets are very expensive and inefficient. I have heard of solar sails but what are the most realistic space travel fuels that will be used in the future to get ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Entering a black hole, jumping into another universe---with questions

I'm quite familiar with SR, but I have very limited understanding in GR, singularities, and black holes. My friend, which is well-read and is interested in general physics, said that we can "jump" ...
6
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3answers
807 views

At what speed does our universe expand?

Conceivably it expands with the speed of light. I do not know, but curious, if there is an answer. At what velocity, does our universe expand?
6
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2answers
1k views

A Fermi-question: Are there more stars than grains of sand?

This claim is pretty popular in the web and obviously cannot be answered by counting grains or stars. Thats what physicists call a Fermi-question. It deals with problems/questions where we dont have ...
6
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2answers
100 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
votes
3answers
232 views

If the universe is full of dark matter, why is it only 2.73 K cold?

people! I am just a physics layman, but I recently watched a documentary about the universe and it was told that the universe is full of dark matter and energy and the universe is empty, so that ...
6
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4answers
612 views

Is space unending?

Is the space unending, i.e it has no boundaries? If yes, how can a thing exist which is non-ending? Its impossible for me to imagine something like that. Secondly, if its not and has boundaries then ...
6
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5answers
3k views

What is our location relative to the Big Bang?

Given what we know about space, time and the movement of galaxies, have we or can we determine what our position is in relation to the projected location of the Big Bang? I've read some introductory ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Curvature of the Universe imaginary?

If the curvature of the universe is zero, then $$Ω = 1$$ and the Pythagorean Theorem is correct. If instead $$Ω> 1$$ there will be a positive curvature, and if $$Ω <1$$ there will be a negative ...
6
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0answers
176 views

Poincare recurrence and the multiverse

In this paper Susskind claims that a stable de Sitter universe is problematic (among other things) due to the existence of Poincare recurrence, which happen because of finite entropy. I disagree that ...
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6answers
2k views

Why is the universe so organized?

If you think about the Big Bang and the flow of matter in all directions, you would think, how unorganized would this universe be? No matter how long it would take. The idea that matter or most of it ...
5
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6answers
5k views

How can something happen when time does not exist?

I saw this documentary hosted by Stephen Hawkins. And if I didn't get it wrong, it says that there was no time before the big bang, time was created there. So how can anything happen when there is ...
5
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2answers
149 views

Is there a consensus on the fate of our universe?

We all know that our universe is inflating from what is known as the Big Bang. However, will our universe continue to inflate at the current rate? Or after reaching a maximum size, will it collapse in ...
5
votes
3answers
542 views

Is the cosmic horizon related to the Big Bang event?

The Universe expands according to the Hubble's law: velocity is proportional to distance. There must be some distance, therefore, at which the velocity reaches the speed of light. This defines the ...
5
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3answers
316 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
votes
4answers
970 views

How do we know the size of the universe?

Ok, from astronomical observations we can tell that the observable matter is separating - so rewind the clock about 13.7 billion years and it was all at a single point. However, how do we distinguish ...
5
votes
3answers
611 views

Can we prove that the universe is finite or infinite? [duplicate]

If I say that the universe is finite, how can you say with certain that I am wrong?
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Expanding universe

If we know the universe is expanding in whatever direction we look, can't we reasonably estimate where the 'center' of the Universe is? Is the rate of expansions in all directions the same?
5
votes
1answer
128 views

Lower limit of the size of the Universe? (WMAP)

The measurement of the WMAP satellite resulted a planar geometry of the universe with a 0.4% uncertainity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape_of_the_universe). If there is a little deviation from the ...
5
votes
1answer
903 views

Correlation between speed, distance, mass, etc between a planet and a star (or moon and planet)?

While playing around with some little scripts, generating solar systems, I started to wonder about the correlation between the different objects. Up until now, distance, mass, size and speed are ...
5
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2answers
285 views

What really is Spacetime?

What is a good definition on Space, Time and the most specific topic "Spacetime"? Because someone told me that spacetime is the foundation of the entire universe? And also, Is it possible to create ...
5
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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 ...
5
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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 ...
5
votes
4answers
618 views

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? When the big bang happened where did it occur? When the big bang happened how did it occur? Where did the energy come from? Energy can not ...
5
votes
1answer
603 views

Alternative theories to the big bang?

Hey all, are there any theories out there on the origins (or infinite existence of) the universe beside the big bang that actually adhere to current scientific knowledge and fact?
5
votes
3answers
220 views

How/why can the cosmic background radiation measurements tell us anything about the curvature of the universe?

So I've read the Wikipedia articles on WMAP and CMB in an attempt to try to understand how scientists are able to deduce the curvature of the universe from the measurements of the CMB. The Wiki ...
5
votes
1answer
983 views

Is the universe finite and discrete?

Is the universe finite, both in the sense of being a closed spacetime manifold, as viewed from the macro level, but also in the sense of being fully discrete and finite in all of its intricate quantum ...
5
votes
1answer
380 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
votes
0answers
88 views

What coordinate system is used to describe planets positions in the universe?

How are planets positions described in the space and in respect to what? For example is Sun the origo and right now at this moment Earth has [coord_X, coord_Y, coord_Z]? or maybe [lng, lat]? ...
5
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2answers
243 views

Questions about the Jeans length

I have a couple of questions about the Jeans length. Suppose the universe has a homogeneous energy density, except there's a spherical region that is overdense. I understand that if the region is ...
5
votes
5answers
562 views

Do new universes form on the other side of black holes?

I have four questions about black holes and universe formations. Do new universes form on the other side of black holes? Was our own universe formed by this process? Was our big bang a black hole ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the extent of the universe?

Is there any realistic, understandable, provable (even in some extent) explanation/model for the extent of the universe? What is its shape? and Why? I mean physical explanations not philosophical ...
4
votes
2answers
558 views

Entropy of an empty universe

After watching the first episode of wonders of the solar system, one question came up which is not explained. Bryan Cox says that ultimately the universe will be devoid of matter, so not even a ...
4
votes
3answers
377 views

Why did decoherence start in the first place?

We learn that the quantum wave function $\Psi$ collapses when it interacts with a classic object (measurement). My question is: Why are there classic objects after all, how did it all start? In a ...
4
votes
1answer
420 views

Does the universe obey the holographic principle due to Stokes' theorem?

Does the universe obey the holographic principle due to Stokes' theorem? \begin{equation} \int\limits_{\partial\Omega}\omega = \int\limits_{\Omega}\mathrm{d}\omega. \end{equation} Can this ...
4
votes
5answers
188 views

Is the universe expanding at a speed of almost $2c$?

I've been told nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Therefore, from my vantage point the diameter of the universe is increasing at a rate of $2c$. Are there any flaws in my thinking?
4
votes
4answers
677 views

Experimental evidence for parallel universes

My idea of physics is that it is a collection of mathematical laws relating observables. And that one can perform alot of mathematical derivations on these laws to produce new laws between ...
4
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3answers
230 views

What is the opposite of the Planck length?

What "large size" unit of length could be considered at the opposite end of spectrum from Planck's length? Is there a table of smallest and largest value for various physical quantities that can be ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Hubble time, the age of the Universe and expansion rate

The Hubble time is about 14 billion years. The estimated current age of the Universe is about 13.7 billion years. Is the reason these two time are so close (a) a coincidence, or (b) a reflection that ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Infinite number of galaxies?

I understand that the current estimate for the number of galaxies in the observable universe is about 100-200 billion. Is there anything in our understanding of physics and the evolution of the ...
4
votes
2answers
150 views

How is the shape of the universe measured by scientists?

I would like to learn how scientists go about measuring the large-scale curvature of the universe to determine if the universe is closed 'i.e. spherical', flat, or open 'i.e. saddle shaped'. My ...
4
votes
2answers
680 views

Are all points in the universe connected?

Is it true that every point in the universe is connected or could be so theoretically? If so how is this mediated? Is it through the quantum nature of the fabric of space or is it through the ...
4
votes
5answers
151 views

Could there be more universes?

In the documentary: "Curiosity - Did God Create the Universe (on YouTube)", theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking states that time did not exist before the big bang. The first ...
4
votes
2answers
639 views

Where does the wave function of the universe live? Please describe its home

Where does the wave function of the universe live? Please describe its home. I think this is the Hilbert space of the universe. (Greater or lesser, depending on which church you belong to.) Or maybe ...