The optical properties of inhomogeneous space-times before and after averaging

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Underlying the standard cosmological model is the assumption that it is possible to coarse-grain the energy density of the Universe, and that the dynamical and optical properies of space-time should be well modelled by the result. However, even if the average coarse-grained geometry does have the same dynamical properties as the fine-grained system it is intended to imitate, there are good reasons to suspect that the optical properties may be different. To investigate this we consider a simple model of the Universe in which the matter content is in the form of uniformly distributed discrete islands, rather than a continuous fluid. It is found that in the appropriate limits the resulting large-scale dynamics of the model approach those of an FRW universe, while the optical properties do not. We find the angular diameter distance, luminosity distance and redshifts that would be measured by observers inside such a space-time, and use preliminary results to show that the effect on estimates of the cosmological constant can be of the order of 10%.