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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Can our Universe be inhomogeneous on large sub-horizon scales?

P. P. Avelino, J. P. M. de Carvalho, C. J. A. P. Martins, J. C. R. E. Oliveira

We show that our Universe may be inhomogeneous on large sub-horizon scales without us being able to realise it. We assume that a network of domain walls permeates the universe dividing it in domains with slightly different vacuum energy densities. We require that the energy scale of the phase transition which produced the domain walls is sufficiently low so that the walls have a negligible effect on structure formation. Nevertheless, the different vacuum densities of different domains will lead to different values of the cosmological parameters ΩΛ0, Ωm0 and h, in each patch thus affecting the growth of cosmological perturbations at recent times. Hence, if our local patch of the universe (with uniform vacuum density) is big enough — which is likely to happen given that we should have on average about one domain per horizon volume — we might not notice these large-scale inhomogeneities. This happens because in order to see a patch with a different vacuum density one may have to look back at a time when the universe was still very homogeneous.

Physics Letters B
Volume 515, Page 148
August 2001

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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