Representation of the timeline of the universe over 13.7 billion years, and the expansion in the universe that followed. Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team.

Cosmology 101: The Beginning

Article written: 17 Feb , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015


Editor’s note: The article “The Universe Could be 250 Times Bigger Than What is Observable” sparked a sizable discussion among our readers, with several suggesting UT should have a series of articles about cosmology — a Cosmology 101, if you will. Our newest writer, Vanessa D’Amico, who wrote the aforementioned article, begins the Cosmology 101 series today, starting at the very beginning.

How did the universe get its start? It’s one of the most pressing questions in cosmology, and likely one that will be around for a while. Here, I’ll begin by explaining what scientists think they know about the first formative seconds of the universe’s life. More than likely, the story isn’t quite what you might think.

In the beginning, there was… well, we don’t really know. One of the most prevalent misconceptions in cosmology is that the universe began as an immensely small, inconceivably dense collection of material that suddenly exploded, giving rise to space as we know it. There are a number of problems with this idea, not least of all the assumption implicit in an event termed the big “bang.” In truth, nothing “banged.” The notion of an explosion brings to mind an expanding tide of material, gradually filling the space around it; however, when our universe was born, there was no space. There was no time either. There was no vacuum. There was literally nothing.

Then the universe was born. Extremely high energies during the first 10-43 seconds of its life make it very difficult for scientists to determine anything conclusive about the origin of the cosmos. Of course, if cosmologists are correct about what they believe may have happened next, it doesn’t much matter. According to the theory of inflation, at about 10-36 seconds, the universe underwent a period of exponential expansion. In a matter of a few thousandths of a second, space inflated by a factor of about 1078, quickly separating what were once adjoining regions by unfathomable distances and blowing up tiny quantum fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime.

Inflation is an appealing theory for a number of reasons. First of all, it explains why we observe the universe to be homogeneous and isotropic on large scales – that is, it looks the same in all directions and to all observers. It also explains why the universe visually appears to be flat, rather than curved. Without inflation, a flat universe requires an extremely fine-tuned set of initial conditions; however, inflation turns this fine-tuning into a trick of scale. A familiar analogy: the ground under our feet appears to be flat (even though we know we live on a spherical planet) because we humans are so much smaller than the Earth. Likewise, the inflated universe is so enormous compared to our local field of view that it appears to be spatially flat.

As the theory goes, the end of inflation gave way to a universe that looked slightly more like the one we observe today. The vacuum energy that drove inflation suddenly transformed into a different kind of energy – the kind that could create elementary particles. At this point (only 10-32 seconds after the birth of the universe), the ambient temperature was still far too hot to build atoms or molecules from these particles; but as the seconds wore on, space expanded and cooled to the point where quarks could come together and form protons and neutrons. High-energy photons continued to dart around, continually striking and exciting charged protons and electrons.

So what happened next? How did this chaotic soup of matter and radiation become the vast expanse of organized structure that we see today? What’s going to happen to the universe in the future? And how do we know that this is the way the story unfolded? Make sure to check out the next few installments of Cosmology 101 for the answers to these questions and more!

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98 Responses

  1. iantresman says

    Thank you for taking the time and trouble in putting together an introductory article. I’d like to offer some constructive criticism.

    The article appears to be written as a statement of truth. Although it does mention the odd theory (of inflation), with some very specific numbers, there is little science explaining why these facts are considered so.

    But a fair introduction nevertheless.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM says

      The article states the facts (modulo details) as they are known, because inflation is part of the standard theory of cosmology. Why that is the standard theory (since ~ 2005ish), you can look up in text books by now I’m sure.

      In other words, what you wrote reads to me like:

      “Although it does mention the odd theory (of classical mechanics), with some very specific numbers, there is little science explaining why these facts are considered so.”

      “Although it does mention the odd theory (of gravity), with some very specific numbers, there is little science explaining why these facts are considered so.”

      “Although it does mention the odd theory (of quantum mechanics), with some very specific numbers, there is little science explaining why these facts are considered so.”

      … and so on and so forth.

      • Torbjorn Larsson OM says

        Also, IIRC lars and iantresman plays tag team whenever EU/PT is promoted (here by attacking old and _very_ well tested theory). Why is that one wonders … or not. :-/

      • iantresman says

        I attacked no theories. However, I would be delighted if you would remind me which “old and _very_ well tested theory” I should look at to support the statement in the article “There was literally nothing”.

        This is not intended as a criticism of the theory, but I’d like to see which scientific tests I have overlooked.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      iantresman said; “The article appears to be written as a statement of truth.”

      Now calling the kettle soot jet black, eh? One very important point that is equally valid to the PC/EU proponent don;t you think? Doesn’t this very same question equally applies to your (and others unbridled ‘faith’, for want of a better word) in similarly believing in plasma cosmology?

      Let’s all really cut to the chase here. Why has the whole plasma version of cosmology been so heavily rejected (now several decades ago) and that currently accepted cosmology is held as the better explanation?

      Is it really as our nutso mate here, lars seems to say, as being some nasty covert plot by all scientists and the media to delude the novices and the general public from the truth? Could it possibly be that our current cosmological models might just happen to better explain whole swathes of scientific disciplines and observations, rather than just cherry-picking out “facts” or ignoring various “truths” that are fortunately just too “inconvenient”?

      Sorry. The only “odd theory” here is undercutting various subjects without having the INABILITY for appreciation of the underlying reasons of why it is supported. In a nutshell, you should already know (hence attack) that the idea behind cosmological “inflation” is about an important change in the energy state in the moments of the Big Bang. (c. 10^-35 to 10^-32 of a second.) So does it not usefully explain that during this short inflation period where the fundamental forces fragmented, and forged all matter, including your precious electromagnetic forces, and ultimately drove the expansion of the universe?

      IMO, pretending this is “odd’ is odd in itself. Whilst having notions rejecting this basic idea might be fair enough, you just happen to so conveniently fail to mention why you against it or why it is so abhorrent to your plasma cosmology. I.e. it destroys much of your unsubstantiated pet theories.

      You are clearly not interest in the actual evidence here that support it. All you deeply desire is this to be wrong, just so your mostly imaginary electric fields pervade the entire universe in infinite dimension and time. (Wishing this doesn’t make it so!)

      Worst is that it is too bad that the observational redshift of galaxies (and even the Einstein’s theory of relativity that underpins it) openly points towards a finite universe and a single origin. So here instead, you clearly start pretending it is all somehow a massive fiction (history through many UT stories, not just this one), then only cherry-pick out that the cosmological inflation period is “odd” by deliberately deceptive inference, “there is little science explaining why these facts are considered so.”

      Sadly, “to offer some constructive criticism”, the evidence to why cosmology supports the cosmological inflation period is actually based on some firm foundations — like particle physics and the fundamental forces, for instance. Ignoring real “statements of truths” just makes you either ignorant or deceptive; and either way, unreliable and untrustworthy.

      If you want to be seen that way, then so be it.

      [Sarcasm Removed]

      • iantresman says

        You insult the author of the article by discussing subjects that neither her, or myself brought up, and I suspect that others find it tiresome that you continue to do so.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Ah! We are back to using the victim-card yet again… I’m sorry, the only thing tiresome is the same old gross fallacies and deceptions, that time and again, exposes the continued untenable and unsubstantiated position of EU/PC.
        Others can think what they want, but I’m determined all this silly pseudoscience will never get a foothold. If that is inconvenient to you, well tough!

  2. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    The quoted 10^{78} expansion of space is different from what is the standard calculation. This is usually stated as e-folds, or the number of times volume expands by a factor of e = 2.71828. The calculation which is consistent is e^{63} =~ 2.3×10^{27}.

    The bang in the big bang is really not inflation. During inflation the vacuum energy density was huge. The cosmological constant /\ ~ energy density, is very large and drives a rapid exponential expansion of space. There is some theoretical controversy here, but while the energy density of the vacuum was very large, the entropy was not that large. The entropy is a measure of the number, N, of degrees of freedom in a system that are coarse grained into a macrostate S = k log(N). The other oddball factor is that while the temperature was high, the entropy was low due to the negative heat capacity of event horizons in spacetime. During inflation the event horizon was smaller than a proton, and the entropy is proportional to the area of the horizon S = k Area/4L_p^2 (L_p = Planck length ~ 10^{-33}cm).

    The bang came about because the exponential expansion rapidly came to a halt, the cosmological constant dropped to a small value (the vacuum energy dropped enormously) and the cosmological horizon adjusted to a very large value. It is now out about 10^{10} light years. This means a the relatively small number of degrees of freedom enter into complicated entanglements which are not accessible in a local region. The entanglement entropy increases, and these states appear in a highly thermalized form. This is the bang and fire of the big bang. It is a form of latent heat of fusion in a phase transition. The large vacuum energy rho ~ 10^{100}GeV^4 crashed into about 10 GeV^4, and the energy gap assumed the form of a thermalized gas of particles.


    • Olaf says

      I have a question regarding to Planck time/Planck length

      Does Planck time mean that we cannot split time intervals endlessly? The same for Planck length and mass. I mean in our current sized universe?

      Or is Plank time and Planck length, mass only meaningful during the big bang itself.

      • Lawrence B. Crowell says

        The Planck length is derived by equating the deBroglie wavelength of a particle of mass m with its Schwarzschild radius. Actually it is the area of a wave, but I will stick with the length. So you have the relativistic 4-momentum P = (0, mc^2) in the rest frame of the particle. The deBroglie wavelength is L = h/p, which in this relativistic setting is L = h/mc. Now equate L with R = 2Gm/c^2. Substitute m according to R = L in the other equation and you get L = sqrt{2Gh/c^3}. If you do it according to the area you get the actual result.L = sqrt{G hbar/c^3} hbar = h/2pi.

        The Planck length means this is the smallest region one can assign a quantum number to. This also means it is the smallest region one can observe anything physical about nature. The Planck time is just the Planck length divided by the speed of light = c. It does not mean that spacetime is gridded up into a lattice of some kind with literal spin fields at this length. That is a big illusion which plagues physics, and I keep hearing that crap coming up. Lots of papers (10s of thousands in fact) have been published on this basis. RUBBISH!

        There is a Planck mass as well, which is the mass-energy quanta of a black hole at this size. It can be easily argued for by using the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This means there is a sort of scaling mirror symmetry around that length, where any attempt to get physics on a scale smaller than the Planck scale results in physics on a scale larger. This is one aspect of the holography principle.


    • Underlings says

      Here’s a question for you that I’ve been unable to ascertain through my own research:

      As I understand it, it’s possible that the universe is spatially infinite, and has been since the beginning of inflation. Is this correct? The reason I ask is I’m arguing with a theist who insists that the universe lacks ANY “actual” infinites (which is his “evidence” for rejecting any notion of infinite regression, meaning the universe had to have a “first cause,” thus his conclusion for the existence of God…in case you’re wondering the particulars). What he means by that is the universe possesses “potential” infinites (as well as mathematical infinites)–like a photon could travel infinitely, but has not done so YET, and thus this isn’t an “actual” infinite. But if the universe could have been “spacially” infinite since the Big Bang (just less dense now than it was back then), as I’ve read in my research, then that could mean an “actual” infinite.

      So I have two questions: Could a flat universe be an “actual” infinite, and do you know of any other such actual infinites in cosmology or anything else?


      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Derek said about; “…existence of God”

        Truly, cosmology can not prove or deny the existence of any god.
        By definition; Cosmology is the scientific study of the Universe, being the place where everything known exists. God exists outside this physical realm.

        Also the universe could be infinite, but we have no direct evidence to support such a conclusion.

  3. lars says

    The problem I have with all of this Big Bang business is: ‘selective ignorance’; and by that I mean selectively ignoring the Laws of Physics as are already known to us by observation and experiment.
    So to begin with, you have this ‘high density energy pulse’, then the ‘inflation event’.

    1. The high density energy pulse, by your own physics of Black Holes, should create a black hole and make it all go back to where it came from. No universe can be born in a near infinitely dense environment, certainly 100 orders of magnitude denser than you currently postulate that a black hole needs to have in order to exist.
    (Assuming the physics of black holes is correct, and you certainly assert that it is correct at every opportunity.)

    2. The concept of ‘inflation’ is a ‘band aid’ to keep the ‘Big Bang’ Creationist Cosmology Theory from bleeding to death due to observational data declaring it falsified beyond repair.

    OK, so the Universe ‘starts’ at some point, I’m fine with talking about that in a theoretical sense, but to say it
    ‘started’ 14 billion years ago is more than a bit presumptuous to state as ‘fact’, which media articles do constantly; overtly, covertly, and by inference.

    Big Bang Creationist Cosmology is a religion, not a science. You want proof: Look at the behavior of those who promote and defend it, they behave like religious fanatics, not like scientists.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Oh silly lars…..
      Please. Your playing with the big boy school now.
      The article and subject title here is Cosmology 101, not Kindergarden 101.
      Sorry, mate. You have already failed the course, and it is only the first day!

    • Olaf says

      The high density energy pulse, by your own physics of Black Holes, should create a black hole and make it all go back to where it came from.
      What is your evidence for that?
      Some math formula would suffice.

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM says

      You confuse black holes, general relativity objects within a cosmology, with big bang, a general relativity cosmology (that may have black holes). The math is conclusive enough for both, they are not the same. I believe you should be able to find this in text books by now (black holes for sure).

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says

      Contrary to what you apparently think the predictions of big bang cosmology have a superb record of observational support. These include the Hubble velocity-distance relationship, the CMB, far distant measurement of galactic frame dragging, nucleosynthesis and abundance of D and He, and correspondence with the quark family doublets. Inflation is a way in which the big bang can be made to fit within the flatness criterion, which states disparate regions of the cosmos should have some causal connection to the earliest time frames. Inflation solves this problem and predicts a universal scaling rule for small anisotropy in the CMB. This has been measured, which gives the first supports for inflation.

      There is no problem with big bang model failing observational tests. Your statement that big bang is a failure is similar to creationists who claim evolution is on the cusp of complete failure, when just the opposite is the case. Further, your claim the big bang could not happen because the whole thing would implode into a black hole illustrates your lack of knowledge about spacetime physics. The solution types for a de Sitter vacuum and a Kerr-Reissnor-Nordstrom spacetime are fundamentally different.


    • Manu says

      The Big Bang + inflation model is generally accepted for one simple reason: it currently provides the best, testable fit with observations of the state of the Universe.
      You are free to come up with a better alternative, that will explain at least as well all that the BB model does explain, plus some of the few things it doesn’t.
      That would be the scientific attitude, which calling names isn’t.

      Inflation _is_ an ad-hoc hypothesis, which is uncomfortable but not necessarily wrong.
      Tycho Brahe rejected the heliocentric model because it also required enormously distant stars, which he rightfully considered an ad-hoc hypothesis. That happened to be true nonetheless.

    • Astrofiend says

      Lars – it seems that you do not have the necessary skills to understand and evaluate ‘our own physics of Black Holes’ – i.e. our theory of gravity, The General Theory of Relativity. Nor it would seem have you have taken on board the sheer weight and number of the predictions that the basic BB theory has successfully made, or the current state of observational evidence which, contrary to your assertion, is very much in support of the BB.

      You say BB proponents defend the theory religiously and that we do not behave like scientists. Wrong – we defend it stridently because it has successfully made a number of accurate predictions, and has a huge backing of evidence which seems to be growing every day. It’s just the same with evolution, thermodynamics, plate tectonics or any other well-established theory/body of knowledge. For all intents and purposes, the evidence has shown that they are essentially beyond doubt, which is where we seem to find ourselves with the BB, at least for the basics of the theory. It’s not religious – it’s just logical.

      Now that is not to say it is without some problems, but almost no scientist would suggest that these are anywhere near approaching fatal. These theories don’t just drop complete into our lap – sometimes they need some tinkering, adjustment or add-ons.

      And btw – nice work trying to equate the BB with creationism. The two have zero to do with each other. I have heard EUers use that angle before around here, specifically people who ran by the names of Anaconda and OilsMastery. Don’t suppose you’d be a sock-puppet or acquaintance of those guys by any chance, would you?

    • TedH says

      Hi Lars
      Regarding to “Oh silly lars…..”
      Relax, buddy. This is a human feature, especially seen by so called “scientists”: We know all the answers, we know the truth!
      I remember some hundred years ago the truth was: the earth is flat, the sun has no spots (because it’s divine), there are no other planets / other lifeforms outside our own system… If you ask WHY the answer would be: show me the planets! It’s not there because we haven’t seen them !!!
      Some scientists spend most of their lives “locked away” from the world chasing the truth by pushing numbers, facts around in a theory ’till it seems to fit. Then NASA launches a new satellite which destroyed the theory by delivering new data they didn’t know before. I guess that Butler & Marcy wouldn’t have survived in the medieval times… prosecuted by so called scientists like Galileo, Kepler…
      Relax, buddy… lean back and wait for new data. We need much more before we can think about the Grand Unified Theory. There is no need to fight those people who have to stand in the spotlight of their own theory, a true scientist is humble. Just relax.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Oh crazy silly boy TedH!
        Wow. Lots of fabulous rhetoric but really no real substance or logic
        Simple question for you. What have scientists have to hide here, eh??

        All the formally publish there work, it is mostly available for all to see and use, and better still, it is openly reviewed by those who are in similar line of science, and openly commented upon by anyone who cares to do so.

        Also I always thought theories were built upon and not euphemistically “destroyed” by “new data.” Observations far more often either confirm or deny some parts theory, refining it or lead to new more accurate experiments.

        It is really funny, too, you mention both Galileo and Kepler (but your forgot ol’ poor Copernicus), who were mostly persecuted by the Church for heresy because they were describing what they had seen. They knew the “truth”, which was available for all to see with their own eyes. Galileo was “lock away” because of it!

        All I read here is “Just Relax” just looks like switching your mind off and let someone else do the thinking for you.

        So let’s sum up… “The Universe is as it is because it is as it was, not because Anyone made it so.” (That equally includes scientists and some Big Upstairs Guy.) …and the real fun starts when you try and begin to want to understand it!

    • Question says

      heh heh.. lars , you’re the maverick-pariah of the UT site.

    • Deon says

      Hi Lars
      The way you get attacked by comments proof your point. Big bang seems to be a religion and dont you dare to differ. Though it seems whatever theorie they do have seems to change whenever something dont fit or the easy way out is it dissappears.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        I really pity guys like you who are so easily fooled by the rhetoric. The big bang theory is supported over what these PC/EU guys suggest, mostly as the evidence available points to it being true. Alternative theories are one thing, and no doubt cosmology in the future could change or be refined. However, for some other alternative theory to be accepted, it has to fit the constraints around the available observations. The claims of lars (and other plasma cosmology supporter like iantresman, Mr. Hologram, etc.) have been shown to be wanting, mostly because the observations cannot and does not even come close to support their conclusions.
        There are so many examples, so often discussed in this blog for many years, that it is impossible to point out all the flaws. We continue to hear really crazy things like that gravity doesn’t exist, redshifts are misinterpreted, the universe isn’t expanding, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is wrong, scientists are deliberately conspiring together, the media is hiding the truth, magnetic field are scaleable, our universe has to be eternal and infinite; yet the very clear observation evidence (often across many disciplines) say the current accepted cosmology is wrong. Really, our current cosmological theory is not an ad hoc collection of facts conglomerated together for the sake of it. Nor is it created to deceive or trick anyone.
        The big bang isn’t a religion supported on mere faith. It is supported by observations the are testable and predictive, whose truth is determined and underscored by the scientific method. It is not at all, as lars speciously says here, “Look at the behavior of those who promote and defend it, they behave like religious fanatics, not like scientists.” Actually the science speaks for itself. Just because these individuals don’t understand it or reject it on their own beliefs, doesn’t mean it is wrong. Cosmology is not just a game of rhetoric discussion or opinion, it is an attempt to explain why everything is as it is.

        In the end, the Big Bang is just the best explanation we have, mostly because it haas the greatest quantity of observational evidence to support it. If another theory betters it, then fine, but I can assure you PC/EU isn’t going to improve the answer nor fit the fact.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Ooops! Slight slip up.
        ” yet the very clear observation evidence (often across many Disciplines) say the current accepted cosmology is wrong right.”

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Damn not being able to see appearance of the posted text… Again;

        ” yet the very clear observation evidence (often across many Disciplines) say the current accepted cosmology is right.”


  4. wlybrand says

    This is a great post/series. I look forward to following along!

  5. Yumabob says

    Good article.
    What exactly is “Vacuum Energy”

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says

      When you quantize a standard classical Hamiltonian, or energy operator, there is a residual part left that exists even if no particles or excited quantum states exist. The is the zero point energy or vacuum energy.


    • Torbjorn Larsson OM says

      Good question.

      I think “vacuum energy” may have been conflated a bit in the text. It is AFAIU believed to be the energy of fields (say particle fields like EM) in the vacuum, i.e. in empty space. Unless you have conditions that makes the field take on higher states, in quantum theory the fields nevertheless have a “zero point” remaining energy.

      This energy is the simplest explanation for “the cosmological constant”. (If you can explain the low value of the later from the much higher first order theory value of the former.)

      And in turn these correlate with the inflationary potential when it dominates the vacuum energy AFAIU. (See the link I gave, figure 1.)

      So perhaps we are discussing 3 different flavors of “vacuum energy” that goes into the quantum soup! 😀

  6. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    however, when our universe was born, there was no space. There was no time either. There was no vacuum. There was literally nothing.

    Not necessarily AFAIU. For example Linde writes in his review that inflation naturally admits semiclassical worldlines:

    “Similarly, if one concentrates on any particular geodesic in the past time direction, one can prove that it has finite length [59], i.e. inflation in any particular point of the universe should have a beginning at some time ?i. However, there is no reason to expect that there is an upper bound for all ?i on all geodesics. If this upper bound does not exist, then eternal inflation is eternal not only in the future but also in the past.

    In other words, there was a beginning for each part of the universe, and there will be an end for inflation at any particular point. But there will be no end for the evolution of the universe as a whole in the eternal inflation scenario, and at present we do not have any reason to believe that there was a single beginning of the evolution of the whole universe at some moment t = 0, which was traditionally associated with the Big Bang.”

    So when the scale of geodesics becomes too fine-grained going back, they appear from Planck volumes (say). But in the natural simplest state (“ground state”) of inflation these are spawned from other inflationary geodesics.

    Maybe the efforts to put probabilistic measures on inflationary universes will bear fruit, so one can decide whether new physics are needed to explain the spawning. Meanwhile I remind of the supernova timing results that putatively shows that there is Lorentz invariance (relativity) “all the way down”, or at least beyond Planck scale. So likely spacetime, or at least space and time, survives.

  7. Member
    Aqua says

    Thanks Vanessa! It’s good to have a ‘common ground’ as a place to start infinite discussion…

  8. Peter Clemerson says

    People are jumping into this set of comments with level 301 answers (See the first response from LC). Vanessa D’A is presenting a level 101 article.

    Like Lars, I also have wondered how it is that black holes that absorb everything within their event horizon are compatible with an initial huge expansion that behaved much like its opposite, effectively as a white hole. An obvious question arises – when the universe was still under a second old, would it not have had an event horizon larger than itself and therefore have behaved as a black hole? And yes, I appreciate that theoretically it might not have been possible for there to be an event horizon in not-yet-existing-space but these are precisely the paradoxes that need to be explained in 101 language. I have never doubted that there are good explanations as to how these two apparent opposites existed in the same universe but jumping in with level 301 answers (“The solution types for a de Sitter vacuum and a Kerr-Reissnor-Nordstrom spacetime are fundamentally different.”) does not help those whose understanding is still at the 101 level.

    Presumably, Vanessa will use the questions that arise here to shape her subsequent articles but apparent sneering at those of us who are prepared to expose our ignorance and puzzlement in order to further our understanding is a manifest unkindness.

    • solarx2 says

      is any of this actually confirm-able? can questions like: what was before the universe, is there anything outside of it and what is at the center of a black hole ever really be answered? it seems that dumb, uneducated people like me still have all the same questions we did back in edwin hubble’s day when we first found out it was all expanding. sure, we’ve got a lot of fancy theories and math to explain why it’s expanding, but the fundamental questions remain unanswered. do they not? are the laws of physics explicitly set up to prevent us from knowing things that maybe we have no place knowing at all? im a bit intimidated here, from trying to read the posts above im expecting to hear that im just a dumb layperson who’s feeble mind cannot grasp this topic, which is probably true, but i figured hey, why not ask anyway?

      • Olaf says

        solar2, even the smartes people on this planet cannot grasp this. So it is not your iQ. That is why we rely on maths. The maths lets us surpass the human limitation, but needs to be checked with reality through experiments.

    • Manu says

      Be sure that no one is / will be sneered at for asking questions or clarifications.
      Some people might be poked fun at now and then because they reject with outright hostility anything that doesn’t conform to their own pet theories. Nuff said.

      Your question is quite legitimate, I’m sure a lot of people thought about it at some point, because I’m one!
      I’m not sure but I think one answer (in classical newtonian physics at least) would be that the gravitational field in an homogeneous Universe is zero, just like at the center of a planet or star: attractions are equal in all directions and cancel each other out. During the BB, the Universe was much smaller than today, but evenly filled with that hot ‘particle soup’.
      Non zero gravitational fields appeared later when things started to clump.
      By contrast a black hole is the ultimate clump in a void.

      De Sitter / Kerr: refer to General Relativity solutions, the first for a global description of a simple Universe model, the second for a local description of space and gravity (or more adequately spacetime) near black holes.

      Einstein’s General Relativity is an equation that describes the relationship between the Universe’s ‘shape’ (spacetime) and its content (matter and energy), at both local scale (planets, stars, BH) and global scale (whole Universe, from Big Bang till now). This relationship is what we call ‘gravitation’, ‘spacetime curvature’ or also ‘metric’. (Strictly speaking, there is no gravitation in GR, only inertial movements in a curved spacetime, but that’s another story!). However the equation doesn’t tell us what possible Universes look like, it’s just the common law that all possible Universes have to abide with. Possible Universes are the solutions of Einstein’s equation, which were developed later.

      The (global) De Sitter solution ( was one of the first, it describes a simple, empty Universe.

      The (local) Kerr metric “describes the geometry of spacetime around a rotating massive body.” (from the Wikipedia ‘Kerr metric’ entry, look it up: I can’t link twice in one post).

      Hope this helps!

    • Astrofiend says

      “but apparent sneering at those of us who are prepared to expose our ignorance and puzzlement in order to further our understanding is a manifest unkindness.”

      As Manu said, nobody will be sneered at for posing tricky questions, lack of knowledge or general ignorance. By all means GO FOR IT! None of us were born just knowing this stuff – we’ve all had to learn from people or books, and we’ve all asked dumb questions and had misconceptions. And I’m not finished yet – there’s still a great deal that I don’t fully understand. Yet… 🙂

      Generally when people get shouted down here, it is because they relentlessly attempt to ‘sell’ an ill-conceived pet theory that has generally been debunked many times before, both here and in other places. They will ignore arguments against said theory, and they will continually recycle talking points that have been debunked or explained to them in discussion here hundreds of times before. They will make outrageous claims like ‘gravity doesn’t exist’ and other provocations, make false claims or misrepresentations like ‘evidence proves that the Big Bang didn’t happen’, when in fact almost no physicist alive believes that that is the case. They don’t adopt a ‘I don’t understand how this could be the case’, ‘I don’t understand how this works’ or ‘I don’t think that this makes sense’ attitude, but rather a ‘you and everyone in your field is wrong, and I’m right’ attitude. Furthermore, when they do so, they seem to lack a grasp of the very physics that they attempt to claim is wrong. There is nothing wrong with not understanding General Relativity – there is something very wrong with not understanding it and then claiming that it is all incorrect and that the evidence says proves it.

      Mainly it is about people’s attitudes. People have had some whack ideas in here before, but if they adopt an approach marked by a willingness to learn and discuss the relent points in good faith, then they will be treated with respect, courtesy, and users will generally spend a great deal of their own time talking through points with in-depth replies. The type of people who get shouted down are arrogant, pig-headed, attempt to insult other’s intelligence, will not look at evidence or arguments against their personal theory in good faith, will not acknowledge that, despite their theory being completely at odds with all that we’ve come to learn about the universe, there is any possibility that they are incorrect etc. etc.

      Anyway, rest assured – if you ask someone to explain something to you at the 101 level, people will be only too happy to oblige generally.

      • Question says

        i could find several examples for you of where posters have been “sneered at” here for asking questions and at no time were attempting to sell any theories. most people here are very helpful however, including you.

    • Astrofiend says

      “(“The solution types for a de Sitter vacuum and a Kerr-Reissnor-Nordstrom spacetime are fundamentally different.”) ”

      Oh – and I should say that you’ll rarely get the 101 level from L.B. Crowell – English is his second language. (math being his first) 🙂

    • iantresman says

      Peter Clemerson wrote: “when the universe was still under a second old, would it not have had an event horizon larger than itself ”

      I would guess that there was no event horizon, because there was nothing “outside” of the Universe. To think of the Universe as a spherical expanding volume is misleading, as a sphere has a surface, but an expanding Universe does not.

    • Olaf says

      @Peter Clemerson

      You are assuming that space expansion is limited to the light-speed, but space itself can expand faster than light-speed.

      Also space can drag out any matter faster than it can be attracted towards each other. Especially when the universe starts.

  9. Peter Clemerson says

    @ Manu

    Yes and thank you.

  10. Lubo says

    I will avoid hard judgment on the BB model as I have limited theoretical knowledge on the subject, although it looks that many comments are done not from better position. Epicycles and geocentric model were fitting not so bad to the crude observations from rudimentary instruments for centuries. When Tycho Brahe accumulated enough precise data it became obvious that the world is set in quite a different way and new model and laws of physics to explain it were needed. That is how the science works. It is not driven by personal belies or disbelieves. We have to trust experts that BB model is currently the best fit. If in the future the facts fail to fit to it undoubtedly the model will be modified or replaced. It is understandable that there are ardent supporters and opponents and even that too much personal commitment is involved but those are not to decide the outcome.

    • Olaf says

      As far as I know models do not get replaced. Models are oversimplified versions representing the reality and can coexist. Newtons models are still very well in use for solar space travel. Einstein ‘s model is used to get more accuracy but is is more difficult to calculate.

      The bohr atom model is also used a lot nowadays,even when we have far better models in quantum mechanics.

      Older and newer models coexist as long as they exist in reality.

  11. why1 says

    Thank you for the article. One of the things I can’t get my head around is that if there was absolutely nothing at all before the big bang, then what was there? To me there must have been at least a void of some kind?

    • HeadAroundU says

      Maybe, void of nothing? 😀 But, I understand that people are not satisfied with the answer. Not long ago I watched some BBC? document on youtube and they went a bit further. There were 6? scientists with different theories. Some Japanese? guy said, that there are 2 types of nothing. Normal nothing and energy nothing. He had the same kind of thinking as me. That nothing is actually something. When scientists get zero, mathematically, they say it’s nothing, but I think it’s something that actually cancels itself out. Maybe. it’s bullshit, but it’s more satisfying. 😀

  12. Alwayslookingup says

    Dear Mr. Crowell,

    I find your opinion to be closest to the fact. I came across this article by Anthony Aguirre, and I am curious as to what you think.

  13. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    One thing has left me a bit perplexed in this introduction, is in that it doesn’t mention anything of the creation of the four fundamental forces; gravity, the electromagnetic force (light), and the atomic strong and weak forces. (though I’d expect this to appear in a future section.)

    The introduction also utterly fails to explain what the term cosmology actually means; I.e.

    Cosmology is the scientific study of the Universe, being the place where everything known exists.

    The Big Bang, a rather ambiguous and in accurate term in fact, is not only the question creation of the physical macro world (stars, planets, galaxies, etc.) but also the creation of the very small (particles, photons, quanta.) The success of the Big Bang Theory, is mostly that it attempts to explain the origin interaction between the matter (physical world) and the four (or possibly more) forces.

    Cosmology looks at the whole matrix of these seemingly unrelated parameters, and attempts to explain their origins (correctly speaking, the science of cosmogony).

    What really bugs me is comment like lars here is in statements like describing cosmology, the Big Bang and scientists as having;

    “‘selective ignorance’; and by that I mean selectively ignoring the Laws of Physics as are already known to us by observation and experiment.”

    This opinion is so absolutely gobsmackingly wrong!!
    Actually, cosmology (really properly termed cosmogony) tries to explain the “Laws of Physics” and its origin! When you think about it, it is funny how one could be ignorant of all the laws of physics, because what all science does is already found through more and more exacting observation and experiment. We already know, for example, so much about matter, but experiment in atom smasher by colliding particles to form more fundamental elusive and exotic particles. Physics have already found the so-called electroweak force, the origin of the weak force and the electromagnetic force); where two nuclear force are the strong and weak force controlling atoms, respectively, gluing the protons together in the nucleus, and affecting an element’s radioactivity and neutron decay.
    The Big Bang theory, in the fractional moments of its creation must have distilled two separate forces from the more fundamental electroweak force.
    This is just a superb example of observation and experiment confirming the science behind the accepted cosmological theory. Yet we still have jackasses wanting to say, and have others perceive, that ; “Big Bang Creationist Cosmology is a religion, not a science.”

    Silly people like this could not be anymore incorrect!

    As I have already said to other is previous stories; “Just because you don’t understand the underlying theory, doesn’t mean that it is wrong.

    Note : The general answer to why the universe didn’t originally start off as a black hole (and the physics behind black holes themselves), is that all the black holes in our current 13.7 billion year old universe, are all ‘immersed’ in spacetime. If the universe was assumed to be original primordial black hole, then the difference is that it wasn’t surround ‘immersed’ in any spacetime; indeed, in the very first moments of the universe spacetime itself was born. Also the laws of physics as we know it actually did NOT exist, at least until the main fundamental forced were distilled from the still incompletely understood Grand Unifying Theory (GUT) and the “Theory of Everything” . [We now the electroweak force was created, as it is assumed that the strong force and gravity did both stemmed from a more fundamental force; being the so-called; electronuclear force (weak, electromagnetic and strong force) and the electronuclear force plus gravity.]

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Oh one important point;

      IMO cosmology is fundamentally the energy history of the Universe, where physical matter (including dark matter?) is really frozen energy! Whilst not absolutely correct, for general educational explanations, the whole evolution of the Universe, especially in the fractions after the initial quantum fluctuation, is much simpler in terms of changes and distillation of various manifested energy states.

      We have also completely failed to mention too, that the Big Bang also created its evolution in terms of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy and time. Please. The many complainants of the Big Bang are equally trapped somewhere “Maxwell’s demon” and the inevitable universal thermodynamic “Heat Death.” Naysayers should really start praying if that “dragon” were unleashed on you. I.e. You silly PC/EUers have been warned!! )

  14. The big-bang is a religion with followers like crumb here to support it. The laws of physics are denied by an arrogant belief that “literally nothing” existed and the “entire universe” began. Falsity with age dating the baby universe, is really from the denial of further Larger sized structural formations requiring longer time to form then superclusters, called “Hyperclusters”. Hyperclusters or super-duper-clusters are denied possible existance for the big-bang, which cannot adequately explain the huge supercluster voids as cold spots on the CMB. Proven seen cosmic filaments of hot plasma spanning literally form the real COSMIC WEB where inferred theoretical dark matter is only mapped ! Wikipedia states that the largest known structures are not superclusters, but cosmic filaments ! filaments over 1 billion light years long connect voids for the sloan great wall. Many superclusters are known to align with others in parallel and perpendicular walls sheets along plasma filaments ! What is difficult is seeing determining the boundaries of a hypercluster from plenty of aligned supercluster walls. The milky way and the nearby Fornax, Hydra I, and Centaurus clusters may all be embedded within a “Centaurus Great Wall.” There is no limit to how big structures can form, except by inflation and the big-bang. The largest known structures are cosmic plasma filaments that dominate the universe and laws of physics today. The universe should be described as a hierarchy of plasma filaments clouds with dust and gas everywhere forming atoms, stars, galaxies, clusters, SC’s, HC’s….

    • Member
      fractal says

      On your website I saw that you are interested in tibetian yoga and in secret doctrines. Instead of trying to understand the universe, you could spend the next couple of decades inventing a new theory that mixes secret yoga with docters (male doctrines) from tibet.
      Did you know that the Centaurus Great Wall is actually an extention of the Great Wall of China, which has many cosmic filaments reaching as far as Tibet? And it conspires with the Sloan great wall in order to make us belief that there was a big bang.
      Cosmic Voodoo is the only science that is not religious!

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        The big-bang is a religion…
        Enough said.

      • Split_Infinity says

        Ad Hominem attacks are a logical fallacy, confront logic with logic not character assassination.

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        Interesting point. Yet are ad hominem attacks any better than specious arguments like ad ignorantiam?

        Plainly someone can be a fool or an out-and-out liar based on the available evidence, which is not at all a fallacy — logic or no logic — but is an obvious and clear matter of fact! Really. Should others sit on the fence and ignore it, or do you expose their deliberate deception?

        I’ll tell you straight. After a while the continuous pummelling of nonsense gets a little bit tiresome. “Be nice” is sometimes so fracken boring!

      • Member
        fractal says

        Yes confront logic with logic.
        In this case I confront fallacy with fallacy.
        I don’t feel good about it, I won’t do it again.

        But how do you suggest should stubborn fallacy be countered if all the explaining has failed? Ignoring it could lead us back to the middle ages. Or to an overpopulated and overheated planet where people are just waiting for the return of a messiah.

        Perhaps it’s too late to fight pseudoscience in this generation.
        Something could be done for the future however: teach philosophy of science in every high school. So the next generation will be more able to distinguish crap from useful knowledge. I hope…

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      This is the usual mindless mixed up garbage from you. I have already proven you are an outright fraud, and yet you sillily come back to the exact same diatribe.

      Let’s see how foolish you are Mr. Hologram (aka. Muppet, Jimhenson, Pat, quantauniverse, etc. etc.) Remember the recent ridiculous claims about WHIM and Benjamin Oppenheimer?

      You actually said of Benjamin Oppenheimer; “…the arrogant view that the entire conceivable universe began in a big explosion will become outdated. see the best scientists website by Benjamin Oppenheimer at”

      Yet amazingly, when you read all about Mr. Oppenheimer it seems he is not denying about the Big Bang occurring! He even published paper and spoken on it !! Yet you continue to persistently contend; “People are outright ignorant and deluded that they believe the universe actually began 14 billion years ago..”,
      So logically, like me, I guess Benjamin Oppenheimer must be a Big Bang supporter! Yet amazingly the person you quote “see the best scientists website by Benjamin Oppenheimer at”, seems to disagree with you.

      Why is that?

      You still haven’t come back on that, have you? (Like most stinking cowards, they cannot answer their own wrong assertions, and when the going gets tough, they simply run away hiding and cringe behind their blissful ignorance.)

      If you shown as presenting such blatant deceptions, why should we believe anything you say at all, eh?

      Yet you say of me; “The only hope for all you lost souls like Crumb, and anyone else who denies JC amongst others, is FAITH ALONE and rejection of the world beliefs of others like crumb here!”, and yet you then follow it up by now crazily claiming now; “The big-bang is a religion.”

      Clearly you are a very foolish person, sir!

      As I keep saying; As I said; “Science is based on the evidence, not what it thinks is the evidence.”

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Our Mr. Hologram here said; “Larger sized structural formations requiring longer time to form then superclusters, called “Hyperclusters”. Hyperclusters or super-duper-clusters are denied possible existance for the big-bang,…”

      There are no such things as the term “hyperclusters”, and it is probably just another fiction made up by you to support your own wrong specious arguments.

      Also there is little evidence to support such a claim, as once openly speculated by Alfven and Peratt. Even they did not use the term hyperclusters! Much of this rubbish has been shown to be complete nonsense, especially the unsupported statement; “The plasma universe maybe eternal and infinite.” “Plasma and the Universe: Large Scale Dynamics, Filamentation, and RadiationA.&S.S., 227, 97 (1995)

      [One, after reading this paper, could very well accuse many PC/EU nutters of plagiarism or not giving the necessary credit from the source, as many past UT posts quote it verbatim, and often almost exactly word for word.]

      So please Mr. Hologram, (or ever your alias is this week) stick to the facts and not the fictions. It is clearly to all…. The more you have say the more irrelevant you become. Keep it up.

      Note: This same paper which the PC/EU nutter so dutifully worships, has so many wrong claims and wrong assertions, it is considered mostly as a big joke among cosmologists and astrophysicists. Only very foolish unqualified people would take it on face value, and even more foolish uneducated people would try to extend it and pretend it is a picture of reality. PC/EU nutters would say anything, do anything, to keep up this crazy illusionary pretence.

  15. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    The only think that is clear from what you wrote is that you don’t know what you are talking about.


  16. Olaf says

    I have a curious question.
    Energy is equal to mass, but mass has gravity.
    Does energy also have the same gravitational attraction as its equivalence in mass?

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says

      Yes. Think of a spherically symmetric gravitating body of mass M in space, such as a planet or a star or a neutron star. Imagine you put a black shroud over it so the body is completely surrounded by a black sphere of some sort. Now imagine you have the ability to replace that body with an equivalent mass in the form of a black hole. From outside the shroud the gravity field would be the same. Now suppose you replace the body with a gas of photons kept in a spherically symmetric “perfect mirror.” Again the gravitational field would appear equivalent. Release the photons and of course you have one hell of an energy burst.


      • Lawrence B. Crowell says

        BTW, what I just outlined is called Birchoff’s theorem.

        One problem with these cosmology blog posts is it requires a bit of work here to keep things on the level. All sorts of people with goofy ideas like to prate about their nonsense.


  17. Alwayslookingup says

    Energy is not equal to mass. Energy is mass times the speed of light squared. As for the gravity thing… ask Mr. Crowell.

    • Olaf says

      Ok lets reformulate. If I concentrate the same energy as on unit of mass it represents, (yes with the squared c) does space bend like that mass?

      • wjwbudro says

        Good question. What happens to the gravitational force exhibited by a rest mass if it is accelerated to c?

    • Manu says

      Actually in ‘Relativity-natural’ units of length and time, c=1.
      So E=M. Literally.

  18. Believers in the big-bang model are guys still living in their past outdated teachings denying and neglecting new discoveries ! Brent Tully identified the Pisces-Cetus supercluster complex as part of a larger organized state of matter beyond superclusters. In just 2006 the first lyman alpha blob was discovered having 3 aligned filaments. cfA2 was found to align with the Sloan great wall recently discovered in 2005 to have over 1.3 billion light year long connecting filament. There is a wall in the Hubble Deep Field North at z=0.559, and a wall near B3 0003 + 387 at z=1.47. The Grus wall is perpendicular ( all geometric respective to each other) to the Fornax Wall and Sculptor Wall, all of which are 3 separate superclusters that are OBVIOUSLY ALIGNING INTO A LARGER SCALE STRUCTURE or highly believable Hypercluster that forms the Centaurus Great Wall or our Local Wall, and is visually created by the Zone Of Avoidance which conceals obscures space and 10 percent of the sky without CMB radiation ! The Great Attractor has been explained by the Norma Wall pull of alignment. The WIKIPEDIA knows all of what I just wrote, and surely is talking believable facts today, despite obvious denials by gravity big-bang believers of facts they never knew recently existed…HYPERCLUSTERS. Facts are with hyperclusters and larger structures then superclusters, the big-bang and the age of the universe is a total waste of stinking rubbish ! TO think they can put the universe in a tin can of nothing, and state something happened to begin the universe at a certain age about 4 times more then the age of the earth is outright foolishness by common sense reasoning ! Dark matter distributions invent dark matter where actual cosmic filaments form a fractal filamentary structure

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Again. Our Mr. Hologram here said; “Larger sized structural formations requiring longer time to form then superclusters, called “Hyperclusters”. Hyperclusters or super-duper-clusters are denied possible existance for the big-bang,…”

      There are no such things as the term “hyperclusters”, and it is probably just another fiction made up by you to support your own wrong specious arguments.

      Let’s see. Go to the ADS site at , and then type “hyperclusters” in the ‘Title Words’ and ‘Abstract Words’ the you funnily get zippidy do dah. Nothing at all between 1800 and 19th February 2011!!

      Currently there are 8,795,326 articles in total here and no one solitary mention of hyperclusters. Gosh it must be so absolutely important, eh?

      Why is this, Mr. Hologram?

      Sounds to me like to silly boy here does not know what he is talking about!!

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Mr. Jimhenson “Hologram” quanta universe muppet says; “Believers in the big-bang model are guys still living in their past outdated teachings denying and neglecting new discoveries !”

      Let’s see.
      1) You quote WHIM as being observed when it is actually mostly theoretical. (Worst you can’t even give any actual examples.)
      2) You quote Benjamin Oppenheimer as being a supporter and against the Big Bang Theory, but when we look at this in true detail, this same person has published papers and give talks on the Big Bang and the age being about 14 billion years!
      3) You talk about mythical hyperclusters, when there is no such thing used by any cosmologists, astronomers or astrophysicists.
      4) You say 10 percent of the sky without CMB radiation, when the fact appears in all direction. (Just look at the 😉 It looks like it is all sky to me!

      Need I say anymore. (Even though I could point out a many many more.)

      The fool stands naked and exposed, methinks!

      • Lawrence B. Crowell says

        I don’t think H’gram is Henson. The writing style and contents are different. At least Henson can write half way reasonably. This guy’s language abilities are attrocious. Henson at least could write out the boilerplate EU/PC stuff, which is at least something even if it is all wrong, but I can’t figure a clue as to what this guy is even trying to say.


  19. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    Again, none of this makes any sense —- word salad. I wish people who take a couple of physics course in college or who read some popularizations would not get these ideas in their head.


    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      I’m starting to want to blame Vanessa D’Amico and Nancy for this. They seem to think it is perfectly OK that these crazy personal theories to be acceptable, and us few bunnies here who are doing all the work denying the nonsense, while they expect everyone to behave themselves and “be nice” against the insults of the pseudoscience.

      Perhaps it is now about time to apply “the final solution”, and write a formal paper exposing the whole EU/PC fraud and openly denounce both Alfven and Peratt now ancient and completely wrong theories. There is enough evidence scattered through the comment in Universe Today to write a 1000 page thesis.

  20. zeuxis says


    Your second paragraph begins with the statement, “In the beginning, there was… well, we don’t really know.” But the paragraph ends with “There was literally nothing.” These are not at all the same, and in many senses they are contradictory statements.

    Physicists (ahem, Hawking) and writers on physics do themselves a disservice with laymen when they use terms like “nothing,” and that is only compounded with phrases like “literally nothing” (with “nothing” italicized at that). It opens the door to the theism debate, as we have seen in these comments, but more egregiously it is an easy escape from admitting that we do not understand well what happens on very small scales approaching the planck length, or at the energy densities of the early universe, and so on. If one wants to posit particles coming into and out of “existence” or the universe “suddenly” appearing out of “nothing” you have an obligation to explain those terms better, or else explain why our current knowledge breaks down at these levels.

    That said, are there not several viable theories that suggest some of the known forces and possibly even particles existed before the inflationary period, in a sort of quark-gluon “soup”? Could this primordial state of existence have been constantly “erupting” and “collapsing” until, not by chance, per se, but inevitably by sheer number of possibilities and number of opportunities, the “right” set of conditions gave rise to inflation and our universe as a result?

  21. EXACTLY what I’ve been trying to say all along: They give a beginning to the universe that is 3 times the age of the earth. Then they say out of nothing everything began. The planck scale length is blurry grainy and entirely different laws of physics, and the Higgs particle is a phony ultimate particle they are searching for that if found will be broken down into smaller and smaller particles. larger structures then superclusters obviously exist if the big-bang reasoning is not applied to maintain the age of the universe. Wikipedia proves I did not invent the name Hypercluster. Wiki states the sloan great wall is part of a Hypercluster, which must not be accepted by big-bangers. We could be inside a hyperclusters surrounded by AGN radio sources and not even know it unless we could zoom out well beyond the horizon of the visible universe that dates the big-bang expansion. the universe is to deep to imagine that the big-bang explains things smaller and larger everywhere. If you believe it that is sufficient to them, since they always have all the facts, and the rest of us don’t if it contradicts their current science. When Hubble discovered the first galaxy, it made the universe so much bigger. Before that the earth was flat and the center of the universe. Today nothing can be larger then a supercluster or the big-bang is false. The facts are we can’t explain where matter or energy came from, or why there is space or not empty space or nothing.. so why limit your size and thinking to the big-bang and the largest structure size to be a supercluster? ZOOM OUT far enough and the fractal filaments have the same patterns, we are only limited by light speed to see larger structures like hyperclusters, because all hierarchy filaments attract gas and dust.

    • Olaf says

      I think you really need to take your pills.
      You make no scientific sense in your post.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Wow. Thanks for the Wiki reference, but guess what, it is all a deliberate hoax!
      Both the linked references for this are bogus, and you can’t link to them. But guess what, Tully’s quote is link to the bogus Plasma Universe site,
      Also the person who wrote this in he Wiki is actually an anonymous IP address, no doubt a PC/EU nutter! (Could it be you Mr. Hologram? I wouldn’t put it past you, you know!)
      Everything you say here is mostly an out and out bald-faced lie!!

      I knew this lot were devious, but it shows how much damage these stinking ratbags can be.

      Note: One thing that I think is funnier though. These nutter deny the cause of galaxy redshifts, but are not the superclusters structures so far found based on these very same measured galaxy redshifts? It is either one or the other. Either the galaxy redshift are right, and the universe is finite and the big bang is correct. Else these “filaments” must be wrong and these structures are an illusion. So which of these PC ideas are you gonna dump then??

      Stupid is what stupid does, eh?

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        “Hyperclusters” is a myth created by pseudoscience frauds known as PC/EU nutters. Stinking liars making science up to support their ridiculous ideas.

        …and Nancy Aitkenson still wants us to “be nice”!!

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

        it is interesting the name of Tully is highlighted by Mr. Hologram. He doesn’t not even mention these fictional hyperclusters at all.

        I now am beginning understand why PC/EU uses this reference, as it was used by their worshipped master, Peratt, only to support his now mostly rejected theories. Tully’s information, accessed by Peratt, now it dates back to 1986 — now twenty-five years old. Much of this data is based on measured redshifts back in 1983.
        Yet why don’t they quote the modern data from, say, the two-degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS)? This has even more redshift data, and most of this filamentary has been found to be caused by gravity infall and star formation. It is also interesting these filamentary structures are physical collections of galaxies and are NOT AT ALL the same Perrat’s predicted ‘electric’ intergalactic filaments. (which there is absolutely no observational support.) [See; , for example.] All PC/EU is clearly a fiction placed upon another fiction.

        Isn’t it quite funny that they accuse other commenters out of not following the latest data or theory!

        I now also understand the reason for hem telling me to ‘relax’ in the open commentary here. They didn’t want me to find these deliberate deceptions and falsehoods being generated by them. All they have done is vindicated my hostility and resolve against any PC/EU.

      • solrey says

        Wow, the Dis-Honorable Inebriated Crumb has issues…whoda thunk?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Oh my. Guess what, even the wiki on the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex is linked to the same stinking Plasma Universe site! (A source claiming it is the largest structure in the universe?)
      The source of this seems to be a user named Keraunos [See and one who also claims; “This user knows The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.”, who added this reference on 20 October 2010!

      Please. Don’t believe anything at all from Wikipedia.

  22. dmactds says

    Generally, I’m open to anything as a beginning of an explanation for things like “The Beginning of Everything”; however, sentences like, “The notion of an explosion brings to mind an expanding tide of material, gradually filling the space around it; however, when our universe was born, there was no space. There was no time either. There was no vacuum. There was literally nothing.”

    “There was literally ‘nothing'”.

    First, I have to say that I am a complete ‘layman’ and perhaps even worse….; mebbe, I’m a complete upstart know-nothing who should just butt out right now.

    I’m not gonna do that; I’m gonna say that aside from being totally unable to get my feeble, Arkansas educated brain around the concept of ‘NOTHING’ and what that would ‘BE’, if it were, indeed, possible for there to be ‘NOTHING’, how could something begin from a place that didn’t exist in any recognizably descriptive form?



    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      The “nothing” here has to do with quantum mechanics. It is the energies of the quantum vacuum, which can create virtual particles seemingly out of nothing , which this notion refers. What happen is the vacuum creates elementary particles of matter and antimatter, which appear for a short fraction of time, then disappear as they annihilate.
      Cosmologists believe that the universe may have come from this same effect (based on probability), where from the quantum vacuum emerged the whole universe. It might sound utterly fantastic, but it seems the quantum mechanical world works in this way.
      (It also has observable effects like the so-call Casmir effect ( Hawking, also used similar phenomena making it possible for black holes to evaporate. [It is really far more complicated than this, but it is good enough as a general explanation.]

  23. Peter Clemerson says

    I fear that Vanessa needs to moderate this site prior to allowing a post to appear. Although unfortunate, this would prevent such a large proportion of it becoming a battleground between those who sabotage it (Hon. Salacious B. Crumb, with their nonsense posts and those who feel obliged to reply to them.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      I have sabotaged nothing here nor do I speak nonsense.
      If you bothered to read what I’ve said, then we would never have to bother correcting the nonsense from the real science in the first place!
      What would you prefer? Read deliberate deceptions to fool novices into reading false science, or expose the truth?
      Remove all PC/EU from Universe Today, and there would not be the problem in the first place!

  24. WIKIpedia is reputable science ! Nothing Karaunos submitted involves anything to do with space science. I checked all his submissions, and all the Wikipedia facts about superclusters, galaxy_filament, cosmic filament, hypercluster, etc are copyright and bound to Wikipedia, and have no author whatsoever listed as its author ! Naturally only discredit and outright falsity for that plasma website here, the laymen can have a better cosmology themselves, then the one presented to them for a big-bang beginning from nothing. Moderate a site? Just the last 3 months, did comments appear in the search engines. It draws them here and they get refuted, and either stay here or check out my evidence. I’ve quit cussing Crumb out, for Nancy. I believe the redshifts of expansion could be related to superclusters not being gravitational bound structures, as Wiki states on superclusters at the beginning. No way can anyone modify or change the wiki dictionary, nor refute real findings of the actual whim found by and reaffirmed by Taotao Fang spanning 350 million light years along the sculptor wall supercluster.

  25. Taotao Fang wrote in 2005 “the cosmic web structure is where overdense filaments connect collapsed regions such as groups and clusters of galaxies. These filaments, named WHIM or Warm-hot intergalactic medium produce detectable UV and X-ray bands.” It seems obvious as a scientist that he like others cannot disagree with the big-bang theory or only hear criticism rather then compliments. obviously this cosmic web of falsely labelled dark matter is actually plasma filaments having a fractal filamentary structure. Rantsev-Kartinov and Parigger wrote “The rupture of dark matter filaments may cause FORMATION OF COSMIC OBJECTS INCLUDING BIRTH OF THE UNIVERSE ! Some big-bangers say that dark matter existed before the big-bang !

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Again you show your ignorance.

      When talking about large astronomical objects, he says;

      “Image analysis of many space objects leads to the conclusion that the majority of observable objects in the universe are luminous ends of almost invisible (or almost completely transparent) formations of filaments. The structure of these filaments can be seen and/or inferred only near their luminous ends.”

      So where is all the observational evidence for all this? If they are almost invisible and almost completely transparent, then where are the observations to support it? It is still merely supposition that it extends over a large range of spatial scales.

      (Also why doesn’t he mention hyperclusters?)

    • Jon Hanford says

      Oh the nonsense that occasionally makes it to the arXiv. The illustrations that accompany that paper are *hilarious*. Of course the paper is similarly nonsensical. I maintain a small but growing collection of crackpot astronomy papers and this one is definitely a keeper! 😀

  26. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    “WIKIpedia is reputable science.” Eh? No it is not. It is an encyclopaedia whose words are added by those editing the articles.
    Also “Hyperclusters” are a fiction deliberately made to deceive. As for the rest of what you say is plainly wrong and unsubstantiated. Sorry, you are well out of your depth here, and it is perfectly clear you are no scientist.

  27. Fang saw the filaments twice by precise line of sight view along their length that extended 350 million light years from a huge black hole that aligns with the sculptor wall of galaxies supercluster. How many times do I have to say this? It is a FACT discovery, and like the solar system ribbon, is one of the top 10 discoveries of the century in cosmology. They measure the densities and temperatures of the WHIM, and know that oxygen atoms absorbs the black hole x-rays emitted, forming a fractal O WHIM filament. It just seems like a bunch of nonsense to people who do not want to see the future advancements of science ahead for us. Here are facts too, the IGM contains 90 % of the baryonic or normal matter , only 10% is in galaxies ! Some of this matter about 25% is in the highly transparent WHIM at several million degrees kelvin, and when filaments extend a billion light years in the sloan great wall, dust and gas in the IGM will form galaxy clusters near these hot knots where they intersect. Since these filaments have been found, and we know much more matter is not in the constituent galaxies, then these filaments contact other galaxies and move relativistic charged ions up to light speed but not faster. It is all entirely logical.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Oh you very silly boy! Desperately slipping in the last word is the slim hope that someone might listen to your confused nonsense.
      Let’s face it. You ignorantly don’t know what you are talking about, and we have already proven you’ll happily declare falsehoods and ignore whole swathes of theory and supporting evidence. Again. There is no observation of the WHIM filament. They think they have they might have found an example but there is no follow up observation, nor is there evidence of any others, and worst it might be something else.
      Fractal. Now thats a new one; another fiction just like Ben Opp’s not believing in the Big Bang! [He, by the way, thinks your a ‘mentally unstable fool’. No being a cruel person, i won’t expose you to the truth.]
      Again. The so-called WHIM we have possibly observed is not “several millions of kelvin”, but in fact is in the order of 10000 to 100000K, observed not in the X-ray but in the UV. (You have got the guts to admit you are wrong, so you pretend it is all a fiction, and just ignore it! (Why is that?))
      If this is true, then everything else that follows in unsubstantiated claptrap. The true is we are still uncertain of early galaxy formation, and the reason you and clearly of the mark is your open denials of the nature of redshifts, the expanding universe, shows you have absolutely not idea what you are rabbeting on about.
      The only FACT here is that you are probably have problems, so we shouldn’t really upset you. Sorry. The only thing entirely illogical is nearly everything you say is quite wrong and twisted and just doesn’t make any sense. Science is clearly not your string suit. Pity.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      He is the ultimate quote that buries you and other EU/PC nutters views;

      “On very large scales, the observed Universe is well approximated by a homogeneous and isotropic Friedmann solution of Einstein’s equations. This is best verified by the isotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The small fluctuations observed in the CMB temperature are fully accounted for by the standard model of structure formation from small initial fluctuations which are generated during an inflationary phase. Nevertheless, these small fluctuations are often used to limit other processes or components which may be present in the early Universe, like e.g. a primordial magnetic field.
      The generation of the magnetic fields observed in galaxies and clusters is still unclear. It has been shown that phase transitions in the early Universe, even if they do generate magnetic fields, have not enough power on large scale to explain the observed large scale coherent fields”

      Nothing better than slaying all this nonsense with the basic fact… (Please feel free to quote this ad nauseam every time one of these total crazies like Mr. Hologram comes along!!)

      Adamek, J., “A large scale coherent magnetic field: interactions with free streaming particles and limits from the CMB.

  28. The Ultimate Universe Model is on my website, with explanations and beautiful supportive PHOTOS of filaments that intersect and form Holographic Structures! The Filamentary Fractal Hierarchy of Unified Black Holes AGN from atoms-stars-galaxies-clusters-superclusters-hyperclusters-forever-all have connecting filaments. The sun shoots out x-ray jets from its north polar hole like galaxies and atoms do. Streaming jets of stars shape galaxies that stream into walls, with no ultimate maximum size scale limit. this means a huge supercluster is like a common ATOM in a much larger slower time passage region of space, and an atom contains as much information with smaller particles as a supercluster ! There is no need for parallel universes nor string theories of extra dimensions, when there is no size limits to the smallest and largest particles objects structures in the universe !

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

      Blah, blah, blah… even more gobbledegook from the fraudulent resident nutter.
      Your website is an absolute joke. Falsehoods, total misrepresentations, unfounded notions, mixed with just utter incomprehensibility.
      Frankly, are you here to comment or here to promote you own webpage?

      The only Ultimate Universe Model is in the fantasy of a deluded mind!

      … just in case you missed it…

      “On very large scales, the observed Universe is well approximated by a homogeneous and isotropic Friedmann solution of Einstein’s equations. This is best verified by the isotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The small fluctuations observed in the CMB temperature are fully accounted for by the standard model of structure formation from small initial fluctuations which are generated during an inflationary phase. Nevertheless, these small fluctuations are often used to limit other processes or components which may be present in the early Universe, like e.g. a primordial magnetic field.
      The generation of the magnetic fields observed in galaxies and clusters is still unclear. It has been shown that phase transitions in the early Universe, even if they do generate magnetic fields, have not enough power on large scale to explain the observed large scale coherent fields”

      Adamek, J., “A large scale coherent magnetic field: interactions with free streaming particles and limits from the CMB.”

      (Now go away you silly insignificant man…)

  29. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Fascinating, a bona fide physics troll. Not in the interest of feeding, but just my input on the side of reality:

    this means a huge supercluster is like a common ATOM

    So much is wrong physics here, that I can take just one piece. No, a cluster has many more degrees of freedoms than an atom, easy to see considering that it is itself an aggregate of atoms. There can be no equivalence between observable conformations (“filaments”) or degrees of freedom (“information”).

    Simple overview tells us this is EU crackpottery (fascination with plasma, pattern recognition as method).

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