Tagged Questions

The universe refers to the cosmos; all of space-time and that which exists as part of it. Alternatively, it can refer to the observable universe, which only contains the part we can see. Questions tagged with this should ask about physics at scales the size of the universe or specific properties of ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

6
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
163 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
766 views

Is the observable region of the universe within the event horizon of a super-massive black hole?

Observations: I have read that for a free-falling observer within the event horizon of a black hole that all lines of sight will end at the singularity which is black. I also look up and see that ...
7
votes
4answers
641 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
83 views

Universe Expansion

I know the galaxies are moving away from us (faster and faster) but when we say the universe is expanding, is that really only pertaining to the galaxies expanding or is the space itself expanding? I ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How can a quasar be 29 billion light-years away from Earth if Big Bang happened only 13.8 billion years ago? [duplicate]

I was reading through the Wikipedia article on Quasars and came across the fact that the most distant Quasar is 29 Billion Light years. This is what the article exactly says The highest redshift ...
11
votes
2answers
598 views

Is spacetime simply connected?

As I've stated in a prior question of mine, I am a mathematician with very little knowledge of Physics, and I ask here things I'm curious about/things that will help me learn. This falls into the ...
10
votes
5answers
913 views

How is it possible for astronomers to see something 13B light years away?

In a NPR News story from a few years back: "A gamma-ray burst from about 13 billion light years away has become the most distant object in the known universe." I'm a layman when it comes ...
7
votes
4answers
398 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why it is said that Universe is an isolated system?

I have read in many places "Entropy of an isolated systems never decreases" And as a corollary: "As Universe is an isolated system(I) then its entropy is constantly increasing(II)" I) ...
14
votes
2answers
135 views

Is there evidence of a larger universe?

While mapping out the position, distance and movement of galaxies and quasars at the limits of the observable universe, have astronomers ever observed the motion of these object due to gravitational ...
6
votes
2answers
189 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is the observable universe so big?

The observable universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. But yet it is 80 billion light years across. Isn't this a contradiction?
1
vote
0answers
217 views

Presence Of an Another Universe [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Experimental evidence for parallel universes Is there an universe similar to ours somewhere else, I mean I had heard from Einsteins theories that,actually when I am ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What has been proved about the big bang, and what has not?

Ok so the universe is in constant expansion, that has been proven, right? And that means that it was smaller in the past.. But what's the smallest size we can be sure the universe has ever had? I ...
14
votes
3answers
257 views

What is meant when it is said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic?

It is sometimes said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. What is meant by each of these descriptions? Are they mutually exclusive, or does one require the other? And what implications rise ...
9
votes
3answers
132 views

Seeing cosmic activity now, really means it happens millions/billions of years ago?

A Recent report about a cosmic burst 3.8 billion light years away. It is written as though it is happening now. However, my question is, if the event is 3.8 billion light years away, doesn't that mean ...
7
votes
4answers
600 views

Are scientists missing the point with distant cosmic objects, or is it just me?

I was reading this article this morning: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13539914 Scientists have discovered a gamma-ray burst whose light has taken 13.14 billion years to reach Earth. ...
3
votes
1answer
612 views

Universe Expansion as an absolute time reference

Why we call "constant" to the Hubble constant?, if the universe were really expanding then the Hubble "constant" should change, being variable, smaller and smaller..with "time". Other example/view ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the Planck scale imply that spacetime is discrete?

On a quantum scale the smallest unit is the Planck scale, which is a discrete measure. There several question that come to mind: Does that mean that particles can only live in a discrete grid-like ...
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?
10
votes
6answers
2k views

How many bits are needed to simulate the universe?

This is not the same as: How many bytes can the observable universe store? The Bekenstein bound tells us how many bits of data can be stored in a space. Using this value, we can determine the ...
5
votes
2answers
266 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?
1
vote
2answers
458 views

If the Big Bang theory suggests that the Universe is “expanding” then what is it expanding INTO? [duplicate]

I am a software engineer and not an astrophysicist but I want to know if anyone is working on sorting out what exists outside the universe? So what about outside spacetime? what is there? or shall I ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
1k 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
640 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?
4
votes
2answers
595 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
486 views

Is it possible for one side of the universe to “meet” the other?

I've variously heard the shape of the universe being described as multi-dimensional, like a helix or mobius strip, and super string theorem seems to say there are lots of universes all piled up next ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

Gamma Ray Bubble at the center of our galaxy seen by Fermi Telescope

How could we measure high energy photons, whithout measuring them ? I can't understand how we can "see" those Gamma Ray Bubbles if they are not reaching here In this graph from Nasa you can see ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

List of theories supporting origin of universe [closed]

Big Bang theory is widely accepted theory when it comes to origin of universe. What other really compelling theories are out there explaining/supporting the origin of universe. I know many people ...
2
votes
3answers
198 views

Is the “far” universe expanding more quickly?

I'm reading this silly Time article: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2044517,00.html And they say "Even at its best, the 20-year-old telescope never had the acuity to peer so far into ...
2
votes
1answer
271 views

What happend with the light from all the galaxies visibles from an earth telescope?

Supposing it's possible to see some distant galaxies with an earth telescope, then, at the tip of the telescope lens there are photons comming from the distant galaxy... So, if I extend my hand in a ...
6
votes
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How many times has the “stuff” in our solar system been recycled from previous stars?

Is there a cosmologist in the house? I've got a basic understanding (with some degree of error) of some simple facts: The Universe is a little over 13 billion years old. Our galaxy is almost that ...
1
vote
2answers
129 views

can a system with nested building blocks (atoms,cells) NOT be “fine tuned”? [closed]

Never mind whether the universe is "fine tuned" for anything in particular,just the idea that there is a nested hierarchy seems incredibly constraining on the outcome, and anything but accidental.
4
votes
8answers
617 views

Is relativity necessary for the existence of life?

If the universe didn't have the relativity principle, would it be able to support life? Life consists of very complicated organisms. The operation of these organisms depends on the laws of physics. ...
4
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Shape of the universe?

What is the exact shape of the universe? I know of the balloon analogy, and the bread with raisins in it. These clarify some points, like how the universe can have no centre, and how it can expand ...
9
votes
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How long will the Universe's hydrogen reserves last for?

I recently became really interested in learning about physics and cosmology, but I still know very little. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will be able to shed some light on my questions. Here ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Did time exist before the creation of matter in the universe?

Does time stretch all the way back for infinity or was there a point when time appears to start in the universe? I remember reading long ago somewhere that according to one theory time began shortly ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Does red shift evidence necessarily imply that the universe started from a singularity?

We are taught that the universe began as a singularity - an infinitely small and infinitely dense point. At the beginning of time there was a 'Big Bang' or, more accurately, 'Inflation'. The main ...
4
votes
1answer
818 views

Supermassive black holes with the density of the Universe

This question was inspired by the answer to the question "If the universe were compressed into a super massive black hole, how big would it be" Assume that we have a matter with a uniform density ...
2
votes
0answers
318 views

What is the name of the physical space enveloping all universes? [closed]

Please excuse my question, as i don't come from a physics background, but i was really wondering. Assuming we are in one of numerous universes which all have physical dimensions: What is the name of ...
2
votes
0answers
4k views

What's the relationship between mass and time? [closed]

This question has arisen from a wish to understand an end-of-universe scenario: heat death. Are time and mass intrinsically linked? If so, does time "run slower" (whatever that may mean) in a ...
51
votes
6answers
3k views

What is known about the topological structure of spacetime?

General relativity says that spacetime is a Lorentzian 4-manifold $M$ whose metric satisfies Einstein's field equations. I have two questions: What topological restrictions do Einstein's equations ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Why is the mapped universe shaped like an hourglass?

I've watched a video from the American National History Museum entitled The Known Universe. The video shows a continuous animation zooming out from earth to the entire known universe. It claims to ...
-3
votes
1answer
146 views

Four-dimensionalism vs energy economy

Four-dimensionalism claims that the universe is basically one huge space-time worm and that everything exists at once (however you want to say that since "internal time" is then just another ...