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Cosmology

  • Françoise Combes
  • Patrick Boissé
  • Alain Mazure
  • Alain Blanchard
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Abstract

Cosmology rests on two hypotheses: that the universe is homogeneous and that it is isotropic, on large scales. The verification of these hypotheses is therefore essential. Homogeneity is guaranteed if it is confirmed that the universe is isotropic at all points. Observations allow us to draw conclusions about the isotropy only from our Galaxy, and this is not sufficient to prove global homogeneity. The universe may be strongly inhomogeneous but nevertheless have a spherical symmetry. An observer situated at the centre of this distribution would see an isotropic universe and conclude, falsely, that it is homogeneous. But for others, situated elsewhere, it would appear anisotropic. It is therefore useful to introduce the so-called Copernican principle, which states that we are not privileged observers in the universe. The verification of isotropy is therefore sufficient to guarantee the homogeneity of the universe.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise Combes
    • 1
  • Patrick Boissé
    • 2
  • Alain Mazure
    • 3
  • Alain Blanchard
    • 4
  1. 1.Observatoire de ParisDEMIRMParisFrance
  2. 2.Ecole Normale SupérieureParis Cedex 5France
  3. 3.GRAAL, Université de Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.Observatoire de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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