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Universe Could be 250 Times Bigger Than What is Observable
Universe Today ^ | 2/8/11 | Vanessa D'Amico

Posted on 02/10/2011 1:21:07 AM PST by LibWhacker

Our Universe is an enormous place; that’s no secret. What is up for discussion, however, is just how enormous it is. And new research suggests it’s a whopper – over 250 times the size of our observable universe.

Currently, cosmologists believe the Universe takes one of three possible shapes:

While most current data favors a flat universe, cosmologists have yet to come to a consensus. In a paper recently submitted to Arxiv, UK scientists Mihran Vardanyan, Roberto Trotta and Joseph Silk present their fix: a mathematical version of Occam’s Razor called Bayesian model averaging. The principle of Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. In this case, a flat universe represents a simpler geometry than a curved universe. Bayesian averaging takes this consideration into account and averages the data accordingly. Unsurprisingly, the team’s results show that the data best fits a flat, infinite universe.

But what if the Universe turns out to be closed, and thus has a finite size after all? Cosmologists often refer to the Hubble volume – a volume of space that is similar to our visible Universe. Light from any object outside of the Hubble volume will never reach us because the space between us and it is expanding too quickly. According to the team’s analysis, a closed universe would encompass at least 251 Hubble volumes.

That’s quite a bit larger than you might think. Primordial light from just after the birth of the Universe started traveling across the cosmos about 13.75 billion years ago. Since special relativity states that nothing can move faster than a photon, many people misinterpret this to mean that the observable Universe must be 13.75 billion light years across. In fact, it is much larger. Not only has space been expanding since the big bang, but the rate of expansion has been steadily increasing due to the influence of dark energy. Since special relativity doesn’t factor in the expansion of space itself, cosmologists estimate that the oldest photons have travelled a distance of 45 billion light years since the big bang. That means that our observable Universe is on the order of 90 billion light years wide.

To top it all off, it turns out that the team’s size limit of 251 Hubble volumes is a conservative estimate, based on a geometric model that includes inflation. If astronomers were to instead base the size of the Universe solely on the age and distribution of the objects they observe today, they would find that a closed universe encompasses at least 398 Hubble volumes. That’s nearly 400 times the size of everything we can ever hope to see in the Universe!

Given the reality of our current capabilities for observation, to us even a finite universe appears to go on forever.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: 250times; bigger; dark; energy; hubble; inflation; observable; stringtheory; universe; volume; xplanets
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1 posted on 02/10/2011 1:21:20 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

Well, this will negatively affect real estate prices.


2 posted on 02/10/2011 1:28:03 AM PST by Lazamataz (If Illegal Aliens are Undocumented Workers, then Thieves are Undocumented Shoppers.)
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To: Lazamataz

LOL


3 posted on 02/10/2011 1:44:07 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Lazamataz

That’s just great. I’m already upside down.


4 posted on 02/10/2011 1:49:03 AM PST by null and void (We are now in day 751 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: LibWhacker
How could there be a finite universe? What would contain it?

On the other hand, how could there be an infinite universe?

Either way, I get dizzy just thinking about it.

5 posted on 02/10/2011 2:10:51 AM PST by giotto
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To: LibWhacker

Age of universe = 13.75 years
Photons have traveled = 45 billion light years
Speed = Warp 3?


6 posted on 02/10/2011 2:13:00 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: LibWhacker

What this means is that there are physical limits to what we can know. Will the insight provided by this article humble our central economic planners? No chance.


7 posted on 02/10/2011 2:14:08 AM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: NTHockey

It’s because the universe expanded (faster than c) and those photons got a free ride.


8 posted on 02/10/2011 2:43:19 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
Conversation from sometime back in the 70s...
"Man...the universe...its big...I mean really really big...ya know?"
"Yeah...its big."
"Yeah...big."
"Yeah."
"You want anymore of this?"
"Might as well...can't dance."

Things got a might phi-lo-soph-i-cal at times back then.
9 posted on 02/10/2011 2:44:53 AM PST by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: Lazamataz; LibWhacker

Nah, 249 times, tops.

Not counting the crawl space.


10 posted on 02/10/2011 2:46:59 AM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Lazamataz
Well, this will negatively affect real estate prices.

Location, location, location. A nice little ocean front property on a planet with oxygen, water and moderate tempratures, near, but not too near, a yellow star is going to be worth a lot more than undeveloped space trapped in a time warp near a black hole in some God foresaken corner of a remote galaxy cluster. Especially if the proptery has access to a reliable airport and a stable government.

11 posted on 02/10/2011 2:52:13 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Socialists are to economics what circle squarers are to math; undaunted by reason or derision.)
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To: LibWhacker

Currently, cosmologists believe the Universe takes one of three possible shapes:

* It is flat, like a Euclidean plane, and spatially infinite.
* It is open, or curved like a saddle, and spatially infinite.
* It is closed, or curved like a sphere, and spatially finite.

Correct answer is all three - it just depends on one’s state of mind and which direction one heads out in.


12 posted on 02/10/2011 3:15:10 AM PST by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: giotto

At least we have universal wrench sets that will work everywhere.


13 posted on 02/10/2011 3:47:59 AM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: giotto
Dizzy?.. Me too. If the universe is spherical, then what is only the other side of the edge of that sphere?

This topic is worth thinking about 30 seconds, otherwise you go to brainlock.

14 posted on 02/10/2011 4:04:08 AM PST by catfish1957 (Hey algore...You'll have to pry the steering wheel of my 317 HP V8 truck from my cold dead hands)
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To: LibWhacker

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_J5rBxeTIk


15 posted on 02/10/2011 4:09:25 AM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: LibWhacker

No wonder it’s taking me longer to drive to work each morning.


16 posted on 02/10/2011 4:19:48 AM PST by 3rd of the 12 CAV (Socialized medicine is a 10 month wait for a maternity ward)
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To: LibWhacker

What about Michelle’s rear end?


17 posted on 02/10/2011 4:20:30 AM PST by Attention Surplus Disorder ("Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking" - Barack Hussein Obama)
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To: LibWhacker
"But what if the Universe turns out to be closed, and thus has a finite size after all?"

Okay... then what would this closed, finite-sized universe be floating in? A petri dish sitting under somebody's microscope?

My vote is that it is spherical with infinite space in all directions.

18 posted on 02/10/2011 4:25:21 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: LibWhacker
That explains Leon


19 posted on 02/10/2011 4:35:22 AM PST by JRios1968 (Laz would hit it!)
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To: catfish1957
If the universe is spherical, then what is only [on?] the other side of the edge of that sphere?

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe?

20 posted on 02/10/2011 4:38:45 AM PST by Roccus (Joe Biden.....America's only living brain donor.)
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To: LibWhacker

Well, it is early for me, but for some reason, the Nesting Doll notion popped into my snow blown and frozen mind: one universe inside another universe, inside another universe, etc. ...


21 posted on 02/10/2011 4:43:05 AM PST by LRS ("This is silly! It can't be! It can't be!!" "Oh yes it is! I said you wouldn't know the joint.")
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To: LibWhacker

None of these are correct.

The Universe is a Mobius strip.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip


22 posted on 02/10/2011 4:44:09 AM PST by sodpoodle (Despair; man's surrender. Laughter; God 's redemption.)
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To: LibWhacker


Universe Could be 250 Times Bigger Than What is Observable

To “expand” off that slogan of The Discovery Channel slogan:
“The UNIVERSE is just awesome”

Especially as we learn more and more about it.


23 posted on 02/10/2011 4:54:48 AM PST by VOA
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To: LibWhacker

How did a non-spherical shape emerge from the big bang?


24 posted on 02/10/2011 4:57:21 AM PST by fso301
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To: catfish1957
If the universe is spherical, then what is only the other side of the edge of that sphere?

Orion's B...Be....Belt. ;)

25 posted on 02/10/2011 4:59:55 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afghanistan and Iraq))
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To: LibWhacker
Size Of The Universe

"It's really, really big."

26 posted on 02/10/2011 5:11:50 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: LibWhacker

ARGH!, ......!


27 posted on 02/10/2011 5:58:02 AM PST by PROTESTBYPROXY (We are manning up!!)
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To: fso301

That was my question as well. Explosions typically go out in all directions. Unless it was a shaped charge.


28 posted on 02/10/2011 6:14:42 AM PST by AFreeBird
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To: LibWhacker
Galaxy Song lyrics
Songwriters: Eric Idle & Trevor Jones

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs.Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you've had quite enough

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the 'milky way'

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide

We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
We go 'round every two hundred million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

29 posted on 02/10/2011 6:27:05 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: LibWhacker

[...over 250 times the size of our observable universe.]

Dammit, just when I figured out the entire universe, they come out with this.


30 posted on 02/10/2011 7:05:07 AM PST by RetSignman ("It's about saving our Republic, STUPID")
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To: LonePalm

Yakko’s Universe - From Animaniacs

Yakko: Everybody lives on a street in a city
Or a village or a town for what it’s worth.
And they’re all inside a country which is part of a continent
That sits upon a planet known as Earth.
And the Earth is a ball full of oceans and some mountains
Which is out there spinning silently in space.
And living on that Earth are the plants and the animals
And also the entire human race.

It’s a great big universe
And we’re all really puny
We’re just tiny little specks
About the size of Mickey Rooney.
It’s big and black and inky
And we are small and dinky
It’s a big universe and we’re not.

And we’re part of a vast interplanetary system
Stretching seven hundred billion miles long.
With nine planets and a sun; we think the Earth’s the only one
That has life on it, although we could be wrong.
Across the interstellar voids are a billion asteroids
Including meteors and Halley’s Comet too.
And there’s over fifty moons floating out there like balloons
In a panoramic trillion-mile view.

And still it’s all a speck amid a hundred billion stars
In a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
It’s sixty thousand trillion miles from one end to the other
And still that’s just a fraction of the way.
‘Cause there’s a hundred billion galaxies that stretch across the sky
Filled with constellations, planets, moons and stars.
And still the universe extends to a place that never ends
Which is maybe just inside a little jar!


31 posted on 02/10/2011 7:09:09 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: LibWhacker

248.6. I measure it yesterday.


32 posted on 02/10/2011 7:19:29 AM PST by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: The Comedian

What-Is-At-The-End-Of-The-Universe ping?


33 posted on 02/10/2011 7:59:11 AM PST by houeto (Government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.)
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To: LibWhacker

How can the universe expand faster than c? Isn’t it the barrier that can’t be broken? I hear the trendy physicists on History Channel theorize that the universe expanded at faster than c - in the moments after The Big Bang. Yet, they don’t even give passing notice to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

If one carries this through to its logical conclusion, what we are seeing is 45 billion years old FROM OUR PROSPECTIVE, yet it is only 15 billion years old, FROM ITS PROSPECTIVE. Something ain’t right.


34 posted on 02/10/2011 8:01:33 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: LibWhacker
Ever notice that every time we think we know where the edges are, someone comes along and points out that there is more 'there' there?

Now... How do we go out there and see what's there without having to discover physical immortality first?

35 posted on 02/10/2011 8:06:26 AM PST by Dead Corpse (III%. The last line in the sand)
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To: SunkenCiv; CJ Wolf; houeto; Quix; null and void; B4Ranch; Whenifhow; Silentgypsy; FromLori; ...
Do-you-remember-where-we-parked? ping.

(Thanks for the ping houeto)

"Space Energy/Solar Weirdness" ping.


Ping list dealing with odd space phenomena and solar events.

FReepmail me if you want on or off

The Comedian's "Space Energy/Solar Weirdness" ping list...


Today is a good day to die.
I didn't say for whom.

36 posted on 02/10/2011 8:13:32 AM PST by The Comedian (Muslim Brotherhood = A.N.S.W.E.R = Soros = Obama)
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To: The Comedian

God provided a bit of exercise for our brains.

And no, I don’t remember where we parked, so we’re stuck here for now.


37 posted on 02/10/2011 8:47:25 AM PST by TheOldLady ("20 Years Ago Desert Storm began...where were you...?" "I believe I was hitting it." - Lazamataz)
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To: LibWhacker
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

—Douglas Adams

38 posted on 02/10/2011 9:48:00 AM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative (Two blogs for the price of none!)
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To: NTHockey
-- If one carries this through to its logical conclusion, what we are seeing is 45 billion years old FROM OUR PROSPECTIVE, yet it is only 15 billion years old, FROM ITS PROSPECTIVE. --

But that is exactly the result that follows from Einstein's theories. The fast moving, and highly accelerated (e.g., under strong gravity) objects "age" at a different (slower) rate when observed by objects at rest. See "The Twin Paradox."

It really strains the brain, trying to fathom time as not immutable.

39 posted on 02/10/2011 9:53:09 AM PST by Cboldt
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To: Hatteras
-- Okay... then what would this closed, finite-sized universe be floating in? --

The idea is that the volume is finite, yet unbounded. There is no way to picture this. But, we can picture a finite two dimensional object, that is unbounded.

If the area of the earth is finite, then what happens when you get to the edge?

40 posted on 02/10/2011 9:57:55 AM PST by Cboldt
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To: NTHockey
How can the universe expand faster than c?

Nothing with mass can move through space faster than c. But that tells us nothing about how fast space itself can expand or inflate. Perhaps we should say it tells us nothing about how fast space itself can be created? One physicist I heard said that we shouldn't think of the Big Bang as a one-off event that happened 13.7 billion years ago... It's STILL happening.

41 posted on 02/10/2011 10:59:37 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Cboldt
"If the area of the earth is finite, then what happens when you get to the edge?"

You hold on for dear life.

Seriously though... stepping beyond Earth, you find yourself still within our solar system. When you reach the edge of the solar system, you find yourself still floating within the Milky Way Galaxy. Pushing beyond the bounds of our galaxy we find ourselves still contained within the Universe, but we continue to push ourselves further and further. Is that it? Does it just end there? Or is the Universe part of a more grand system? Does it keep going or would you eventually break on through... say, to the other side? (apologies to Jim Morrison)

The relative order of things would suggest that the Universe is limited such as Earth, the solar system, and the galaxy but that we only have yet to reach the limits of the "universe". And if we did ever reach it and passed beyond, what would you call it? Heaven? ;-) Or is it just a tiny organism contained within a petri dish in some heavenly laboratory?

And my apologies to the more studied in this field for my relative coarse awareness, I appreciate your knowledge and I really am curious. ;-)

42 posted on 02/10/2011 11:02:10 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Location, location, location. A nice little ocean front property on a planet with oxygen, water and moderate tempratures, near, but not too near, a yellow star is going to be worth a lot more than undeveloped space trapped in a time warp near a black hole in some God foresaken corner of a remote galaxy cluster. Especially if the proptery has access to a reliable airport and a stable government.

So true. That's why when Betelgeuse goes supernova, it'll be no great loss. That neck of the galactic woods already looks like Detroit - or Gary, Indiana.

43 posted on 02/10/2011 11:16:35 AM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: LibWhacker

I always think of the Universe more as a Multiverse ... just one of many we just don’t know how to see the others

TT

(Pretty sure the solution requires tinfoil and duct tape though)


44 posted on 02/10/2011 12:27:55 PM PST by TexasTransplant (I don't mind liberals... I hate liars...there just tends to be a high degree of overlap)
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To: Hatteras
-- stepping beyond Earth, you find yourself still within our solar system. When you reach the edge of the solar system, you find yourself still floating within the Milky Way Galaxy. Pushing beyond the bounds of our galaxy we find ourselves still contained within the Universe ... --

But in each of those, you are working in the framework of being able to "step outside of a smaller part of a larger whole," and see a finite volume from the vantage point of a remote observer. The most common conception is that [empty] space is unlimited, infinite; and if the universe is finite, it occupies only part of infinite space, and in concept it's possible to "step outside" the universe and look back at it - similar to going into outer space and looking back at earth.

My remark sets up a finite mass, finite volume universe that violates the common conception. The volume of the universe, and the volume of space itself are finite, not infinite. But the finite volume doesn't have an "edge," beyond which is emptiness. It is very counter-intuitive to find empty space as being limitable. It is impossible to make a 3-D scale model of this [finite volume of space, without a boundary], like we can make 3-D scale models of the earth, or solar system, or even a galaxy.

Not to say that a finite volume universe is fixed at some value. If the universe is expanding, then the volume/amount of space is expanding [like the area of the earth would increase if the earth's radius increased]. But the universe isn't expanding "into an unlimited nothingness." It is expanding the amount of empty space that can be occupied by matter or energy.

45 posted on 02/10/2011 12:29:36 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: LibWhacker

What’s behind the door, under that carpet and is the grass really greener on the other side?

EMENCE


46 posted on 02/10/2011 1:30:09 PM PST by wolfcreek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsd7DGqVSIc)
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To: VOA
Universe Could be 250 Times Bigger Than What is Observable

If it truly is "unobservable", how can anyone make the above observation?

47 posted on 02/10/2011 3:25:53 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: fso301; AFreeBird
From http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_shape.html (which doesn't explain what determined the mass and density of the universe!).

Geometry of the Universe

Possible space curvatures of the universe: Closed, Flat, Open The density of the universe also determines its geometry. If the density of the universe exceeds the critical density, then the geometry of space is closed and positively curved like the surface of a sphere. This implies that initially parallel photon paths converge slowly, eventually cross, and return back to their starting point (if the universe lasts long enough). If the density of the universe is less than the critical density, then the geometry of space is open, negatively curved like the surface of a saddle. If the density of the universe exactly equals the critical density, then the geometry of the universe is flat like a sheet of paper. Thus, there is a direct link between the geometry of the universe and its fate.

The simplest version of the inflationary theory, an extension of the Big Bang theory, predicts that the density of the universe is very close to the critical density, and that the geometry of the universe is flat, like a sheet of paper. That is the result confirmed by the WMAP science.

48 posted on 02/10/2011 3:32:49 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Hatteras
Here's what the Freeper "Physicist" once said about the universe when someone asked him to explain what the universe was expanding into, and it has a direct bearing on your question:
This question comes up regularly, but it's based upon a misconception that, unfortunately, physicists do more to perpetuate than to correct. Let me see whether I can set you straight.

The problem is that the expanding universe is typically visualized as something like a stretching rubber sheet, or a raisin-laden plum pudding expanding as it bakes. The problem is that these are physical objects that exist in--and take up--some region of space. Over time, these growing objects take up more space, leaving less space for other objects, and either displacing those objects or reaching the limits of the available space. Once the plum pudding fills the oven, there's a problem.

The expansion of the universe isn't like that. The universe is not an object; it doesn't "take up space". It is space. As it grows, it doesn't mean that there is less space for objects; it means there is more space for objects. Nothing needs to be displaced to admit its expansion.

I can tell by the look on your face--as I imagine it--that you aren't satisfied. So here's another way to think about the problem. Don't say that the universe is expanding. Insist that it remains fixed. Say instead that the things in the universe--galaxies, rulers, paper plates, Brooklyn (sorry, Mrs. Allen), atoms, people, Dukakis/Bentsen campaign buttons--are all shrinking. It's mathematically equivalent, right? But it doesn't require you to postulate that anything is "outside".

So why don't you have the same conceptual problem that you had when you viewed it the other (equivalent) way? Think about it.--Physicist


49 posted on 02/10/2011 4:22:43 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Tainan

Reminds me of an old episode of Dragnet called “The LSD Story” (I just looked it up) which opens up with a hippie in the park with his head stuck in a hole in the ground and Friday and Gannon tap him on the shoulder and he looks up and says, “wow, man, I can see to the center of the earth!”


50 posted on 02/10/2011 4:49:30 PM PST by samtheman
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