Introduction

  • James Rich

Abstract

Cosmology is the study of the global characteristics of the Universe. In its details, the cosmos is rather complicated with a multitude of fascinating objects ranging from carbonacious dust grains to quasars. In spite of this, cosmologists like to think of the Universe as a simple place characterized by
  • A tiny density, p ~ 10−26 kg m−3, and light output, J ~ 10−39 W m−3;

  • A curious “chemical” composition (Table 1.1) with most particles being cold photons or neutrinos and most energy being in the form of ordinary “baryonic” matter (protons and nuclei plus electrons), and not-so-ordinary “cold dark matter” and an effective vacuum energy or cosmological constant.

  • A non-equilibrium thermal state characterized by different temperatures for photons and neutrinos and a deficit of highly bound heavy nuclei.

  • A hierarchy of gravitationally bound structures ranging from planets and stars to galaxies and clusters of galaxies.

Keywords

Dust Microwave Anisotropy Recombination Helium 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Rich
    • 1
  1. 1.CEA-Saclay, DAPNIA/SPPGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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