Questions about the origin, history, evolution and fate of the Universe.

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32
votes
2answers
661 views

Two species of dark matter?

At this point in time, evidence for the existence of dark matter has accumulated in many ways: it affects galactic rotation curves plays a major role in cosmology, and the evolution of structure in ...
15
votes
1answer
251 views

Future of CMB observations: How will our knowledge of the early universe change?

The Planck satellite has been presented and awaited for a long time as the ultimate experiments for measuring temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) over the full sky. One ...
15
votes
1answer
311 views

How exactly does inflation convert random gravity fluctuations into coherent gravitational waves?

In the course of this very enjoyable press announcement, it is mentioned that inflation can create gravity waves by amplifying gravity fluctuations. I do not properly understand this statement. I ...
14
votes
2answers
228 views

How does the evolution of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
14
votes
1answer
209 views

Dark Matter Particle Candidates

Dark matter appears to dominate the matter component of the universe as compared to luminous, or baryonic, matter. Though it does not interact electromagnetically (it doesn't absorb, scatter, or emit ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Existence of gravitons?

For a lot of my uninformed life, I have doubted the existence of gravitons or even that gravity is an actual "force" (like electromagnetism). This is because my vision of general relativity was that ...
11
votes
1answer
161 views

Which came first: black holes or galaxies?

In other terms, did galaxies grow around black holes at their center?
10
votes
3answers
612 views

How do we know dark matter/dark energy exists?

I've never quite understood the theory behind why dark matter and dark energy exist. I know it has something to do with gravitational pull being stronger than what we calculate it SHOULD be, could ...
10
votes
3answers
285 views

What is the ultimate fate of a cluster of galaxies?

We're fairly aware clusters of galaxies drift apart due to space expansion, which will drive them out of each other's cosmic event horizon eventually, leaving them separate, alone, each a single "body"...
10
votes
1answer
391 views

Inflation cosmology: slow-roll inflation versus tunneling between two vacua

In slow-roll inflation models, the early inflation of the universe is driven by the flat non-zero part of the inflaton potential, and it ends as the ball rolls down the cliff and the potential energy ...
9
votes
2answers
178 views

Is the diameter of the observable universe a relative quantity?

The diameter of my observable universe is 90 billion ly measured in proper distance. But isn't lenght a relative quantity in the theory of Relativity? Could an observer moving at a different velocity ...
9
votes
1answer
216 views

Dark Flow: statistical limits on existence

Dark Flow has been thrown around as a term a lot lately, especially with the latest Planck results. New Scientist reported last year that it was now statistically improbable, but the paper by Atrio ...
9
votes
1answer
100 views

How Does Cosmology Constrain the Number of Neutrino Species?

I've asked this question already on the Physics SE, but I felt it would be worth posting here as well. I know that based upon theories of structure formation cosmologists can constrain the sum of the ...
8
votes
2answers
170 views

How long would it take for a rogue planet to evaporate in the late stages of the Universe?

I've read once a popular science book, in which the author calculated how long would it take for the most massive black holes to evaporate because of Hawking radiation. He claimed that after that time ...
8
votes
2answers
216 views

Recommendation for introductory cosmology text

I am looking for recommendations for an introductory text (or texts) on cosmology on the advanced undergrad or beginning grad level. I am coming from primarily a physics undergrad background (doing ...
8
votes
2answers
106 views

Are we moving ever closer to the center of our Galaxy due to a super massive black hole?

I've seen in documentaries that at the center of each galaxy is a super massive black hole which holds the galaxy together. Since black holes have such a strong pull, are we slowly being pulled in ...
8
votes
1answer
69 views

How to find the distance between two quasars

I want to calculate the distance between two quasars of which I know the angular position and the red shift. Let $Q_1=(\alpha_1,\delta_1, z_1)$ and $Q_2=(\alpha 2,\delta 2, z_2)$ and suppose $z_2 > ...
8
votes
1answer
203 views

What is the mass of hotspots in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation?

A lot of pop science articles (for example, this Space.com article) discuss the cold spots on the WMAP data of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, but have any studies been done on the large ...
8
votes
2answers
119 views

Boötes Void numbers, 2016

As a general science (hence Wikipedia!) reader, the latest information I have is that 60 galaxies "have been found and counted" inside the Boötes void, this of 1997. (1) What is the latest count of ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

If we “turned universe upside-down” and changed all matter to anti-matter instantly

...what would be the immediate consequences? Or putting it better, if (from big-bang or whathever), the universe were always made of what we call Anti-matter what would it be? The scientists of this ...
7
votes
3answers
150 views

On the cosmological principle

Just more of a conceptual question on the mutual inclusivity of the cosmological principle. That is to say, I was wondering if it were possible to have a Universe that were isotropic but NOT ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

How can the equation of state for cosmic strings and domain walls be derived?

In this article which nicely explains why it is really the quantity $\rho + 3p$ which is relevant to determine if the expansion of the universe is accelerating or decelerating by making use of the for ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

Is there a paper on galaxy mergers in clusters of galaxies?

I'm looking for something to cite about galaxy mergers in clusters of galaxies. I need numbers on the frequency of mergers in the outer parts of galaxy clusters vs. the cluster center. In the center ...
7
votes
2answers
86 views

Does the radius of the Universe correspond to its total entropy?

I heard a claim that due to holographic principle, the surface area of the cosmic horizon corresponds to the universe's total entropy. As such the initial state had zero surface area and later ...
6
votes
3answers
191 views

Is there a natural process by which hydrogen is generated from heavier elements in the cosmos?

we know that stars fuse hydrogen into helium starting at 3 MK; 13 MK in the Sun's core; carbon fusion starts at above 500 million K, and silicon fusion starts at over 2700 million K for comparison; ...
6
votes
2answers
59 views

Is the Astronomy community still concerned about the lumpyness of matter distribution in the universe?

A decade or so ago, when I was still a science undergrad, one of the open questions in astrophysics was to explain the uneven distribution of galaxies in the observable universe. That is, why did the ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

To what extent are structure formations unexplained?

I hear conflicting claims about our understanding of the structure formation in our universe. I heard that ΛCDM explaines well the large scale structure of the universe i.e. Comparison of the ...
6
votes
1answer
55 views

Going from the second moments of an object to its ellipticities and half-light-radius

I am studying ellipticity distributions of galaxies and am having trouble moving from the second central moment matrix (covariance matrix) to properties for an object such as its half-light radius. I ...
6
votes
0answers
153 views

How to determine scalar-to-tensor ratio r from CMB polarization spectrum?

CMB polarization spectrum can tell us about the primordial scalar and tensor perturbation. By analyze B and E mode angular spectrum power spectrum and temperature power spectrum we can determine the ...
5
votes
2answers
129 views

What is the furthest object in the observable universe?

My question is about furthest object in the observable universe except Сosmic microwave background.
5
votes
1answer
64 views

How can cosmic inflation make an infinite universe homogeneous?

As it is explained in this video, one of cosmic inflation's observable effects is the homogeneity of our universe. Inflation allows two points on the different sides of the observable universe to be ...
5
votes
1answer
77 views

What happens to the shrinking universe in the presence of the pressure of Hawking radiation?

Black holes release Hawking radiation. Now assume that the universe after all collapses back again, bringing all matter to a single black hole. I assume that this would bend the whole space-time of ...
5
votes
1answer
37 views

What accounts into calculating the Hubble constant?

From my understanding, the Hubble constant $H_0$ calculates from observed redshifts $z$ of distant galaxys against their proper distance $D$. The current value appears to be 67.80(77) $\frac{km}{s}Mpc^...
5
votes
3answers
83 views

Distinction between metric expansion and objects just moving apart from each other?

I see explanations likes this: Galaxies and other sources, then, are not strictly expanding away from each other but rather are attached to the fixed grid on the expanding fabric of spacetime. ...
5
votes
1answer
723 views

How likely and severe is the threat of a gamma ray burst to earth?

In the National Geographic article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090403-gamma-ray-extinction_2.html it is suggested that a gamma ray burst likely caused a mass extinction in earth's ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Might the universe be really small yet seem infinite from spherical reflections? [closed]

if a single source of light quite small, was placed somewhere inside a completely reflective sphere, quite large, what would the reflections look like from the light source's point of view within that ...
5
votes
0answers
46 views

Estimating the tangential and cross component of the galaxy's shear using Gnomonic projection

I would like to know how I can estimate the tangential and cross component of the galaxy's shear using Gnomonic projection of the right ascension and declination ...
4
votes
3answers
173 views

Strong force and metric expansion

If the expansion of the universe (the metric) continues (and perhaps is accelerating), in a very large but finite time the expansion of the metric will clash with the effects of the strong nuclear ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Formation of Cosmic Microwave Background

It is said that the cosmic microwave radiation (CMB) was formed when the universe was 379,000 years old. How is this calculated?
4
votes
1answer
475 views

How did the reionization epoch make the universe “transparent”?

I've been reading about the reionization epoch of the universe, and it isn't entirely clear to me. As I understand it, very shortly after the big bang the universe was ionized, with the electrons ...
4
votes
1answer
41 views

How are the element abundances calculated for a meteorite in the Hydrogen log10 scale?

In astronomy, solar abundances are often calculated or tabulated per $10^{12}$ H atoms. I understand that in case of the Sun this can be done because H atoms are in majority or are present for a scale ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

When will the Milky Way “arrive” at the Great Attractor, and what all happen then?

The Great Attractor is described as a location to towards which the Milky Way, along with all other galaxies in the Laniakea Supercluster are moving. How long will it take for the Milky Way to "arrive"...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Missing Terms in Weinberg's treatment of perturbations on Newtonian Cosmology

I was reading Appendix F of Steven Weingberg's book "Cosmology". In this Appendix he works out the perturbations to a cosmological fluid described by non-relativistic hydrodynamics and Newtonian ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Evolution of the Hubble parameter

In the lambda-CDM model describing an accelerating Universe, the Hubble parameter is currently decreasing with time. Will it continue to decrease forever?
3
votes
2answers
110 views

If the Universe is infinite, why isn't it of infinite density?

If we make the assumption that the Universe is infinite, and has an infinite number of hydrogen atoms, then why is it not of infinite density - because, under Schrodinger's wave equation the ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

Was the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation originally gamma rays?

I believe that sometime after Big Bang the entire universe was filled with high energy particles. Now we fast forward to the present; most of these particles still linger and managed to avoid being ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Why is dark energy preferred to the cosmological constant?

Dark energy and the cosmological constant are often identified, but Peebles and Ratra explain that "Einstein did not consider the cosmological constant to be part of the stress-energy term... a ...
3
votes
2answers
153 views

Looking for help in understanding how black holes can move

I'm looking for help in understanding how black holes can move through space. This is probably a trivial question for anyone who knows astronomy, but probably due to my lack of education on the topic, ...
3
votes
3answers
139 views

what is the current explanation for the formation of cosmic voids?

Why aren't galaxies distributed evenly in space, but instead form those sponge-like structures, with huge voids between filaments?
3
votes
1answer
127 views

What does black hole evaporation correspond to in the accelerating universe / black hole analogy?

In the same way, as a black hole emits Hawking radiation corresponding to its temperature $$ T = \frac{\hbar}{r_{BH}} $$ the accelerating universe can be described as all of the stuff falling ...