Does the growth of structure affect our dynamical models of the universe? The averaging, backreaction and fitting problems in cosmology
Structure occurs over a vast range of scales in the universe. Our large-scale cosmological models are coarse-grained representations of what exists, which have much less structure than there really is. An important problem for cosmology is determining the influence the small-scale structure in the universe has on its large-scale dynamics and observations. Is there a significant, general relativistic, backreaction effect from averaging over structure? One issue is whether the process of smoothing over structure can contribute to an acceleration term and so alter the apparent value of the cosmological constant. If this is not the case, are there other aspects of concordance cosmology that are affected by backreaction effects? Despite much progress, this 'averaging problem' is still unanswered, but it cannot be ignored in an era of precision cosmology.
- Pub Date:
- September 2011
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 19 pages, 2 figures. Invited Key Issues Review to appear in Reports on Progress in Physics