Asked by: Autumn Bruuns
asked in category: General Last Updated: 30th April, 2020

Is the universe at critical density?

Critical density is the value at which the Universe is at balance, and expansion is stopped. This value is estimated as (1-3)×10^-26 kg/m³ and it's calculated when you take the matter-energy density of the universe and divide it by the matter-energy density of the universe that is required to achieve that balance.

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Correspondingly, what is the critical density of the universe?

The 'critical density' is the average density of matter required for the Universe to just halt its expansion, but only after an infinite time. A Universe with the critical density is said to be flat.

One may also ask, is the density of the universe decreasing? The density of matter decreases as the universe expands because the volume of space increases. (Only a small fraction of matter is in the form of luminous stars; the bulk is believed to be dark matter, which does not interact in a noticeable way with ordinary matter or light but has attractive gravity.)

Subsequently, one may also ask, what are the possible fates of the universe if the density is lower than or equal to the critical density of the universe?

If the pressure of the matter is low, as is the case with most forms of matter we know of, then the fate of the universe is governed by the density. If the density of the universe is less than the critical density, then the universe will expand forever, like the green or blue curves in the graph above.

What shape of universe has a density of matter that is greater than the critical density?

This is known as an open universe. The shape of the universe depends on its density. If the density is more than the critical density, the universe is closed and curves like a sphere; if less, it will curve like a saddle.

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