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CAS September Meeting

September 4, 2019 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm

Professor Mark Whittle of the University of Virginia will discuss cosmic inflation.

Where did all the matter in the Universe come from, and how did it acquire its expanding motion? In other words: How was our expanding Universe created? We begin answering this deep question by uncovering the astonishing fact that the total mass/energy of the Universe is zero: everything sums to nothing! This is true because gravity’s energy is negative, and it counter-balances all the positive mass/energy we find in stars and galaxies. We next use this quality of gravity to understand how dark energy causes cosmic expansion to speed up: it “falls outwards” making more of itself as it does so.  If we transfer these ideas to the early Universe, we can begin to understand how Cosmic Inflation both creates and launches our expanding Universe – out of nothing! As a bonus, we discover how this inflationary launch solves three deep puzzles about the nature of our Universe. Inflation also leaves several telltale signatures in the patches of the microwave background and in the patterns of galaxies, and one by one these signatures have been found in the data. Finally, and more speculatively, the nature of inflation suggests it may create multiple universes, not just ours

The Charlottesville Astronomical Society meets on the first Wednesday of every month from 7 pm to pm at the University of Virginia’s historic McCormick Observatory.  Typically we have a guest speaker each month discussing cutting edge astronomy topics and the 26″ McCormick Telescope is available for viewing the night sky on clear nights.  Guests are welcome!


Organizer: Larry Saunders

Mobile: 434-466-5662

Leander McCormick Observatory

600 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22904 United States
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