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