Saturday, August 28, 2010

Possible local geometries

There are three categories for the possible spatial geometries of constant curvature, depending on the sign of the curvature. If the curvature is exactly zero, then the local geometry is flat; if it is positive, then the local geometry is spherical, and if it is negative then the local geometry is hyperbolic.
The geometry of the universe is usually represented in the system of comoving coordinates, according to which the expansion of the universe can be ignored. Comoving coordinates form a single frame of reference according to which the universe has a static geometry of three spatial dimensions.
Under the assumption that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic, the curvature of the observable universe, or the local geometry, is described by one of the three "primitive" geometries (in mathematics these are called the model geometries):
3-dimensional Flat Euclidean geometry, generally notated as E3
3-dimensional spherical geometry with a small curvature, often notated as S3
3-dimensional hyperbolic geometry with a small curvature
Even if the universe is not exactly spatially flat, the spatial curvature is close enough to zero to place the radius at approximately the horizon of the observable universe or beyond.

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