Topology of the Universe: Background and recent observational approaches
Is the Universe (a spatial section thereof) finite or infinite? Knowing the global geometry of a Friedmann-Lemaître (FL) universe requires knowing both its curvature and its topology. A flat or hyperbolic (‘open’) FL universe is not necessarily infinite in volume.
Multiply connected flat and hyperbolic models are, in general, as consistent with present observations on scales of 1–20 h−1 Gpc as are the corresponding simply connected flat and hyperbolic models. The methods of detecting multiply connected models (MCM’s) are presently in their pioneering phase of development and the optimal observationally realistic strategy is probably yet to be calculated. Constraints against MCM’s on ∼1–4 h−1 Gpc scales have been claimed, but relate more to inconsistent assumptions on perturbation statistics rather than just to topology. Candidate 3-manifolds based on hypothesised multiply imaged objects are being offered for observational refutation.
The theoretical and observational sides of this rapidly developing subject have yet to make any serious contact, but the prospects of a significant detection in the coming decade may well propel the two together.
Volume 97, 2023
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