38

Let's start in the middle: What is the furthest radius we can prove from earth, with absolute certaintity, that the laws of physics do not vary? Zero. Proofs are found in mathematics and court rooms, and are impossible in natural science. The best we can do is have falsifiable theories. This holds for every description of reality - there's no "proof" ...


38

I think that your thought process is flawed in that you assume that by drastically increasing the temperature you are guaranteed to get heavy elements. As odd as this may sound, this isn't the case (especially during the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN)) for a few reasons. In fact, if you took a hydrogen-only star and made it go supernova, you wouldn't get ...


33

I think the reason you're suffering from conflicting sources is that you're mixing both new and old, out-of-date pieces of information. First off, the book you cited was published in 2001 - 15 years ago - and the other article you cite was published in 1999 - 17 years ago. There's been a lot of work done in the past 15 years, often under the term "precision ...


24

All Conselice et al. (2016) appear to suggest is that when you look at something like the Hubble deep field, there are many faint (and presumably low mass) galaxies that are not seen. This has absolutely no effect on the need for dark matter. The main results are: (i) as you look back in time, the overall (co-moving) density of galaxies (more massive than a ...


23

Nothing can be proved "with absolute certainty"; that is not how science works. We adopt a working hypothesis that the constants of nature are exactly that; both constant in time and space. Then we conduct experiments that attempt to falsify that hypothesis or at least place limits on by how much things might vary. For reasons that are explained in answers ...


22

Hot dark matter would be made from very light, fast moving particles. Such particles could not possibly be gravitationally bound to any structure, but rather would be dispersed all across the universe. But dark matter is always "found" (or "inferred") either gravitationally bound to some visible structure (e.g. weak lensing detection of dark matter ...


19

TL; DR Somewhere between now and a few hundred billion years time. (For a co-moving volume) Now read on. If stellar remnants are included, then the answer is very far in the future indeed, if and when the constituents of baryons begin to decay. So let's assume that "stars" means those things that are undergoing nuclear fusion reactions to power their ...


18

The "Friedmann model" is a model of the Universe governed by the Friedmann equations, which describes how the Universe expands or contracts. These equations are a solution to Einstein's field equations, and with two very important assumptions they form the basis for our understanding of the evolution and structure of our Universe. These assumptions, together ...


17

Some additions to the answer of MBR: In fact, we do not know that dark matter and dark energy do exist, but we have indirect clues. You will often see claims that dark matter and dark energy are two of the major problems of cosmology today, including by professional astronomers, but this is an epistemological misconception: you cannot call a hypothesis a ...


16

The quasar gives out light in all directions. The light spreads out in space. Only a very small amount of that light would be pointed exactly in the direction of your telescope. But if a large galaxy or galaxy cluster is between the quasar and us, it bends some of the light towards us, making the quasar brighter (it would also distort the shape, but quasars ...


15

To make a long story short, the measurements from Planck and the Hubble Space Telescope disagree, and the reason behind this isn't known. First, let's look at the values with the uncertainties. We then have three different results that are, perhaps, not as inconsistent as they originally seemed: $70.0^{+12.0}_{-8.0}\text{ km s}^{-1}\text{ Mpc}^{-1}$ from ...


14

The total entropy actually increases, as the molecular cloud shrinks under gravity. It may seem that as the molecules are getting closer, they are more ordered, which means less entropy. That is however only one part of the process. The second (important) part is: when the molecules are closer, they also have higher kinetic energy (since they descended into ...


14

The rough answer is: just like the sun makes it hard or impossible to see planets and stars during the day, it dominates the gravity sky. But there are interesting patterns there if we view the sky using a logarithmic scale. The above plots are a combination of the gravitational force of the sun, moon and planets, the stars in the Hipparchos catalog, the ...


13

Before the evaporation of black holes that you mention, our universe will enter what is known as the Black Hole Era. About $10^{40}$ years from now, all the protons and neutrons in the universe will have decayed into positrons and neutrinos. This is how the last of the planets will pass away. The Black Hole Era is so named because at this point only black ...


13

This is a great question. I know of a couple of really big things about inflation people want to be able to nail down by using the cosmic microwave background. The first is measuring what are known as E- and B- modes, which are the curl-free and divergence-free components to the modes of cmb radiation: Essentially, measuring large scale Gaussian B-modes ...


13

Gravity is a fictitious force, actually, much like centrifugal force. In a free falling frame of reference it disappears. In general relativity (GR) gravity is just a result of (differential) geometry: space-time curvature. The inverse square law is just the low energy approximation, but the actual equation for gravity derived from GR is more complex than ...


12

Cosmological parameters are measured in a variety of ways, and their values will depend on which measurements you trust the most. The paper you link to (Planck Collaboration et al. 2016) with the 2015 results from the Planck observations of the cosmic microwave background is probably the one that most people will accept, but even in that paper you will find ...


11

Theory The structure we see in the Universe has formed from the gravitational collapse of the matter that was once an almost smooth density field of gas ("baryons") and dark matter$^1$. The word "almost" is important here, for if it had been completely — or even non-completely but much more — smooth, then the collapse would not have had the time to happen ...


11

White holes are a theoretical construction of General Relativity. Despite extensive searches, nothing has been found: not a supermassive white hole, not a stellar-sized white hole, nothing. Thus, the answer to your question is: on our current knowledge, they don't exist anywhere. It is unclear how could they be formed. The geometry of the Kerr-solution (i....


11

The basic assumptions of the cosmological principle mean that space can only have constant scalar curvature. This can be positive, negative or zero and a flat Universe is one where the curvature is zero. The curvature of space is something that can be measured and the current value is known to be close to zero, not just from BOOMERanG, but from subsequent ...


11

The scale factor of the universe depends on the matter and energy density in a way that depends on which component is dominant. This is discussed in the question How does the Hubble parameter change with the age of the universe? on the Physics Stack Exchange, and from that I have taken this graph showing how the scale factor changes with time for our ...


10

When you say "particle" candidates, I assume you're excluding MACHOs and RAMBOs. MACHOs are "dark" objects at the stellar scale like black holes, neutron stars, brown dwarfs, etc. RAMBOs are clusters of similar dark objects. MACHOs and RAMBOs are made of primarily baryonic matter (everyday stuff like protons and neutrons — electrons are not baryons but ...


10

Dark matter and dark energy are two different things, accounting for different observations. Dark matter: Dark matter is needed to explain, among other things, the rotation curve of galaxies. One could expect these rotation curves to decrease at large radii (because one should expect keplerian rotation for galaxies), and it is not the case, the rotation ...


10

As you say, expansion is proportional to distance. And in fact, compared to the size of the (observable) Universe, Andromeda and our Milky Way are close together. Indeed, farthest objects are now more than 20 billion Ly from us, whereas Andromeda is only 2.5 million Ly away. That is a 1/10000 factor. The space expansion between them is not enough to set ...


10

By observing the observable universe we can gather a lot of data about the constituents of the universe now and in previous epochs, right back to the cosmic microwave background. This data places quite narrow constraints on viable models of the Big Bang. This is why cosmologists are confident about the details of the Big Bang, certainly from electroweak ...


9

For a lot of my uninformed life, I have doubted the existence of gravitons or even that gravity is an actual "force" (like electromagnetism). Gravity is a force like electromagnetism, but it does have a special property in that all test particles fall the same way in a gravitational field, no matter their composition. This means that inertial masses and ...


9

Yes, there is direct, non-red-shift evidence of expansion. The past temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) has been directly measured and found to be substantially higher than it is today. Its reduction in temperature over time is direct evidence of expansion. Here are the details: According to this paper, the CMBR was measurably ...


9

I think your confusion has to do with terms and semantics, rather than physics: The cosmological redshift has nothing to do with the velocity of the emitter and the observer with respect to each other. That's why it's not a Doppler shift. The cosmological redshift is caused by the expansion of space. It is a direct measure of the relative size of the ...


9

Einstein's opinions were not static, and he lived at a time when there were several competing theories and not much observational evidence. Einstein introduced a cosmological constant $\Lambda$ into his equations, the purpose of which was to allow for a steady cosmos with no expansion or contraction. He is said to have later regretted this addition. He was ...


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