The Light/Dark Universe: Light from Galaxies, Dark Matter and Dark Energy

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-08-20
  • Publisher: World Scientific Pub Co Inc

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To the eyes of the average person and the trained scientist, the night sky is dark, even though the universe is populated by myriads of bright galaxies. Why this happens is a question commonly called Olbers' Paradox, and dates from at least 1823. How dark is the night sky is a question which preoccupies astrophysicists at the present. The answer to both questions tells us about the origin of the universe and the nature of its contents-luminous galaxies like the Milky Way, plus the dark matter between them and the mysterious dark energy which appears to be pushing everything apart. In this book, the fascinating history of Olbers' Paradox is reviewed, and the intricate physics of the light/dark universe is examined in detail. The fact that the night sky is dark (a basic astronomical observation that anybody can make) turns out to be connected with the finite age of the universe, thereby confirming some event like the Big Bang. But the space between the galaxies is not perfectly black, and data on its murkiness at various wavelengths can be used to constrain and identify its unseen constituents. Book jacket.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
The Enigma of the Dark Night Skyp. 1
Why is the sky dark at night?p. 1
"By reason of distance"p. 4
Island Universep. 5
Non-uniform sourcesp. 6
Tired lightp. 9
Absorptionp. 10
Fractal Universep. 12
Finite agep. 13
Dark starsp. 16
Curvaturep. 17
Ether voidsp. 19
Insufficient energyp. 20
Light-matter interconversionp. 21
Cosmic expansionp. 22
Olbers' paradox todayp. 25
The Intensity of Cosmic Background Lightp. 29
Bolometric intensityp. 29
Time and redshiftp. 32
Matter, energy and expansionp. 33
How important is expansion?p. 37
Simple flat modelsp. 39
Curved and multi-fluid modelsp. 41
A bright sky at night?p. 44
The Spectrum of Cosmic Background Lightp. 49
Spectral intensityp. 49
Luminosity densityp. 52
The delta functionp. 54
The normal distributionp. 58
The thermal spectrump. 59
The spectra of galaxiesp. 62
The light of the night skyp. 65
R.I.P. Olbers' paradoxp. 69
Dark Cosmologyp. 73
The four dark elementsp. 73
Baryonsp. 76
Dark matterp. 80
Neutrinosp. 84
Dark energyp. 86
Cosmological concordancep. 88
The coincidental Universep. 94
The Radio and Microwave Backgroundsp. 97
The cosmological "constant"p. 97
The scalar fieldp. 98
Decaying dark energyp. 102
Energy densityp. 105
Source luminosityp. 108
Bolometric intensityp. 113
Spectral energy distributionp. 114
Dark energy and the background lightp. 115
The Infrared and Visible Backgroundsp. 119
Decaying axionsp. 119
Axion halosp. 123
Bolometric intensityp. 125
Axions and the background lightp. 127
The Ultraviolet Backgroundp. 133
Decaying neutrinosp. 133
Neutrino halosp. 135
Halo luminosityp. 137
Free-streaming neutrinosp. 140
Extinction by gas and dustp. 141
Neutrinos and the background lightp. 145
The X-ray and Gamma-ray Backgroundsp. 151
Weakly interacting massive particlesp. 151
Pair annihilationp. 154
One-loop decayp. 160
Tree-level decayp. 162
Gravitinosp. 166
WIMPs and the background lightp. 169
The High-Energy Gamma-ray Backgroundp. 175
Primordial black holesp. 175
Evolution and densityp. 178
Spectral energy distributionp. 181
Bolometric intensityp. 184
Spectral intensityp. 187
Higher dimensionsp. 191
The Universe Seen Darklyp. 197
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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