19. Omega and the End of the Universe

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Frontiers/Controversies in Astrophysics (ASTR 160)

Class begins with a review of the issues previously addressed about the origin and fate of the universe. The role of gravity in the expansion of the universe is discussed and given as the reason why the rate of expansion cannot remain constant and will eventually slow down. The actual density of the universe is calculated using various methods. Finally, the unsolved problem of dark matter is addressed and two explanatory hypotheses are proposed. One is that the universe is comprised of WIMPs (Weakly Interactive Massive Particles) that fulfill two requirements: they have mass and do not interact with light. The second hypothesis is that dark matter is made of MACHOs (Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects), which scientists have attempted to identify through gravitational lenses.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Review of Issues in Cosmology
08:28 - Chapter 2. Determining Mass
26:39 - Chapter 3. Dark Matter: WIMPs?
37:30 - Chapter 4. Dark Matter: MACHOs?

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2007.