Archipelagian Universe; Dynamics and Observables in a Universe with Discretized Matter Content

05 November 2009

Timothy Clifton and Pedro G. Ferreira

Physical Review D 80, 103503 (2009) [26 pages] DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.80.103503


We consider a model of the Universe in which the matter content is in the form of discrete islands, rather than a continuous fluid. In the appropriate limits the resulting large-scale dynamics approach those of a Friedmann-Robertson-Walker (FRW) universe. The optical properties of such a space-time, however, do not. This illustrates the fact that the optical and “average” dynamical properties of a relativistic universe are not equivalent, and do not specify each other uniquely. We find the angular diameter distance, luminosity distance, and redshifts that would be measured by observers in these space-times, using both analytic approximations and numerical simulations. While different from their counterparts in FRW, the effects found do not look like promising candidates to explain the observations usually attributed to the existence of dark energy. This incongruity with standard FRW cosmology is not due to the existence of any unexpectedly large structures or voids in the Universe, but only to the fact that the matter content of the Universe is not a continuous fluid.