Ask Ethan #49: Do the cosmic unknowns cast doubt on the Big Bang?

Ethan Siegel
Aug 9, 2014 · 9 min read
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Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team.
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Image credit: Christopher Vitale of Networkologies and the Pratt Institute.
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Image credit: Carnegie Observatories, via https://obs.carnegiescience.edu/PAST/m31var, of Hubble’s original discovery of the first variable star in the Andromeda galaxy, 1923.
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Image credit: Wendy Freedman, NASA, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the HST key project.
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Image credit: Davis and Lineweaver, 2000, via http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0011070.
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Image credit: Take 27 LTD / Science Photo Library (main); Chaisson & McMillan (inset).
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Image credit: Andrey Kravtsov, University of Chicago, Center for Cosmological Physics, via http://cosmicweb.uchicago.edu/filaments.html.
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Image credit: Institute of Astronomy / National Tsing Hua University, via http://crab0.astr.nthu.edu.tw/~hchang/ga2/ch28-03.htm.
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Image credit: me, modified from Lawrence Berkeley Labs.
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Image credit: NASA, of the Holmdel Horn Antenna used to originally discover the CMB in the 1960s. Via http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2003-00013.html.
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Image credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team.
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Image credit: ESA and the Planck collaboration.
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Image credit: ESA and the Planck collaboration (main), NASA / wikimedia commons user 老陳 (inset).
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Image credit: Eisenstein & Hu, 1998.
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Image credit: Wayne Hu / University of Chicago, via http://background.uchicago.edu/~whu/intermediate/driving2.html.
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Image credit: Rest, A. et al. arXiv:1310.3828 [astro-ph.CO], via http://inspirehep.net/record/1258661/plots.
  • neutrinos,
  • normal matter (e.g., protons, neutrons and electrons),
  • dark matter,
  • point-particle topological defects (e.g., magnetic monopoles),
  • cosmic strings,
  • intrinsic spatial curvature,
  • domain walls,
  • cosmic textures,
  • a cosmological constant,
  • and/or dark energy that violates the weak energy condition, leading to a “Big Rip” fate for our Universe!
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Image credit: Bock et al. (2006, astro-ph/0604101); heavy modifications by me.

Starts With A Bang!

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

Ethan Siegel

Written by

The Universe is: Expanding, cooling, and dark. It starts with a bang! #Cosmology Science writer, astrophysicist, science communicator & NASA columnist.

Starts With A Bang!

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

Ethan Siegel

Written by

The Universe is: Expanding, cooling, and dark. It starts with a bang! #Cosmology Science writer, astrophysicist, science communicator & NASA columnist.

Starts With A Bang!

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

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