I suspect, at the time when stars didn't exist yet, we could calculate with largely homogeneous Hydrogen-Helium mix.

Unfortunately, the sources I've found on google aren't really detailed.

  • $\begingroup$ The universe would have been roughly 100 times younger, i.e. 130 million years old. I am not aware that we know whether there were stars around or not. One can probably speculate theoretically, that at that temperature stars will not form, yet. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jul 26 '16 at 4:15
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    $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne As far I know, there are quite complex calculations by the dispersion of matter with surprising results (for example, that only quantum fluctuations hadn't been enough to explain the CMB dispersion, there should have been something out of these, too). How do you know that the mean temperature of the universe is inversely proportional to its age? The relevant QFT formulas don't seem so easy to me, for example there are different formulas for the neutrino background as for the CMB (because neutrinos are fermions). $\endgroup$ – peterh says reinstate Monica Jul 26 '16 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ That's why I said that one can probably speculate that stars haven't formed, yet, but I am not aware of observations that show that the universe, at that time, was without any. As far as QFT is concerned... at 300K there is no interaction of the electromagnetic field with itself and the interaction with gas makes... warm gas. You can get a bag filled with hydrogen and helium at room temperature and that's what would have been in the universe at that time, albeit at much lower density. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Jul 26 '16 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ 300K is $z>100$. I am not aware of anyone suggesting stars were present at $z=100$ and certainly not reionisation. $\endgroup$ – Rob Jeffries Jul 26 '16 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne (+Rob): Thanks! So we have: H2, He, neutrinos and photons. I suspect, there are models based on numerical calculations to deal with them, what these models say? $\endgroup$ – peterh says reinstate Monica Jul 26 '16 at 19:48

Very, very small.

Today, the temperature of the Universe is $T_0 = 2.73\,\mathrm{K}$, so when the temperature was $T = 300\,\mathrm{K}$, the redshift was $$ z = \frac{T}{T_0} - 1 \simeq 100, $$ which means that the Universe was only $t = 15\,\mathrm{Myr}$ old, long before the first stars were born. However, this was still long after the Universe went from being radiation-dominated to being matter-dominated, which happened roughly at $t = 50\,000\,\mathrm{yr}$. For radiation, the pressure is $p = u/3$, where $u$ is the energy density, but in a matter-dominated the pressure is negligible wrt. the dynamics of the Universe.

The density of baryonic matter (dark matter is pressureless) today$^\dagger$ is $\rho_\mathrm{b,0} = 4\times10^{-31}\,\mathrm{g}\,\mathrm{cm}^{-3}$, so at $z=100$, when the scale factor (the "size" of the Universe relative to today) was $a = 1/(1+z) = 0.01$, the density was $$ \rho_\mathrm{b} = \frac{\rho_\mathrm{b,0}}{a^3} = 5.5\times10^{-25 }\,\mathrm{g}\,\mathrm{cm}^{-3}. $$ As you say, you can assume a gas consisting virtually of a homogeneous mix of hydrogen and helium. With a mass fraction of the two of $\{X,Y\} = \{0.76,0.24\}$, the "mean molecular weight" (average mass in terms of the hydrogen mass $m_\mathrm{H}$) of the (fully neutral) atoms is $$ \mu = \frac{1}{X + Y/4} = 1.22. $$ Thus, the particle number density was $n = \rho_\mathrm{b}/\mu m_\mathrm{H} \simeq 0.3\,\mathrm{cm}^{-3}$, and the pressure was $$ p = n k_\mathrm{B} T \simeq 10^{-13}\,\mathrm{Pa}. $$

$^\dagger$Let me know if you need details on how to calculate this.


The CMB has a temperature of $T=2.73(1+z)$. So when it was at 300K, the redshift $z=110$. At this redshift there were no stars (or at least for the purposes of this question, there is no significant reionisation, which happened at $z\leq 20$, so we can assume the universe is neutral H and He atoms.

The universe at that time would have been matter dominated (the transition between radiation dominated and matter dominated occurred at $z\sim 3500$, so radiation pressure is negligible). The density therefore falls towards the present day as $(1+z)^3$ - i.e. the density then was $1.37\times10^6$ times higher than the matter density today.

Assuming that by pressure you mean the normal gas pressure contributed by baryonic matter, then you could assume that the universe consists of 92% H and 8% He atoms by number and that the present day baryonic matter density is given by $\Omega_b \simeq 0.044$ (WMAP) multiplied by a critical density of $8 \times 10^{-27}$ kg/m$^3$, and with a number of mass units per particle of $\mu = 0.92\times 1 + 0.08\times 4 = 1.24$.

From this we obtain the baryonic density of the universe at $z=110$ as $1.1\times10^{-20}$ kg/m$^3$ and then using $$P = \rho k T/\mu m_u$$ we get $P = 2.2\times 10^{-14}$ N/m$^2$.


It was during the period called the dark ages. Between 3000K and 60K the Stars had not formed, thus dark. Times between 380000 years to about 150 million years after the Big Bang. See the chronology at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_universe

3000K was roughly recombination, and then atoms started forming. For most of that time it was mainly hydrogen and the little radiation around was from hydrogen emission.

If you want to calculate the equations are not that complex. First the relation of temperature T to redshift z is T= 2.72 (1+z), where redshift now is 0. Going back in time redshift will increase. At z = 1100 you get the recombination, approximately, with the T about 3000K. You can calculate for 60K, z about 20. It starts getting cold. And dark. For 300K is looks like z about 100.

For the times for each you can use my answer at Why is it said that photon-wavelengths have increased by a factor of 1000 since our universe became transparent to light? for the lookback times. It also has a time vs z relation.

The derivations are in eg Dodelson and others. I'll have to look up tomorrow the pressure equations, sorry. At 300K it should have some radiation, maybe not too much. At that temperature most atoms are stable, and not that hot to radiate.

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, it was one of the not enough detailed sources, for example it completely lacks pressure data. $\endgroup$ – peterh says reinstate Monica Jul 26 '16 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ When matter dominated the pressure is roughly 0. Matter is close to a dust model, radiation gives you the pressure. See my edited answer, and Dodelson. $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Jul 26 '16 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ Oh! My bad. You want pressure at 300K. Yes, it was changing from radiation to matter dominated, but enough radiation for pressure. See my edit in a few minutes, but other than checking Dodelson (and I can't right now) it won't say much. $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Jul 26 '16 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ You already have two complete and good answers, no need for me to add anything. $\endgroup$ – Bob Bee Jul 27 '16 at 0:14

protected by Qmechanic Jul 26 '16 at 9:49

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