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How Big is the Entire Universe?
Starts with a Bang ^ | 7/18/12 | Ethan Siegel

Posted on 07/21/2012 12:57:15 AM PDT by LibWhacker

(25)

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking

The Universe is a vast, seemingly unending marvel of existence. Over the past century, we’ve learned that the Universe stretches out beyond the billions of stars in our Milky Way, out across billions of light years, containing close to a trillion galaxies all told.

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Image credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team.

And yet, that’s just the observable Universe! There are good reasons to believe that the Universe continues on and on beyond the limits of what we can see; the question is, how far does it go on? Forever? Or does it close back upon itself at some point?

To help us better understand this question, let’s turn to something more familiar (and smaller) that we know how to measure the size of: the Earth.

Sunset from a Hawaiian Astronomer

Image credit: Tom of http://apacificview.blogspot.com/.

From the top of a tall mountain, like Mauna Kea, shown here, you might hope to measure the Earth’s curvature, but your efforts would be in vain. From even 14,000 feet up, the curvature of the Earth is totally indistinguishable from flat.

There are images out there where the Earth appears curved when you look out at the water, and indeed, they’re not hard to find. But is that because of the Earth’s curvature?

Iceberg off of New Zealand

Image credit: James Elders of Flatwoods and Lighterknots.

Not at all; it’s because of atmospheric distortion. If you were to try and calculate the circumference of the Earth from a photo like this, you’d get a world that was smaller than even the Moon is; you cannot measure the curvature of the Earth from any known location on the surface of the planet.

What’s more than that is that, over land, the Universe isn’t perfectly smooth. Some places are curved upwards, others downwards, and any small region visible to you is unlikely to be a fair representation of the entire planet.

Summit of the Weisshorn; Matterhorn in the background

Image credit: Stefan Zenker atop Weisshorn, 1974.

There is a way that you’d be able to tell, though, what the shape and size of the planet actually is. All you’d have to do is take the appropriate measurements and use geometry.

It’s as simple as going to three separate locations on Earth and drawing a triangle to connect those three points.

Triangle on a surface of positive curvature

Image credit: John D. Norton from the University of Pittsburgh.

On a flat sheet of paper, the three angles of any triangle will always add up to 180°, as you well know. But if you’re on the surface of a sphere (or, mathematically, any surface of positive curvature), those angles will add up to more than 180°. Knowing the distance between each of those three points and the measure of all three angles allows you to calculate what the circumference of the Earth is.

And, of course, the farther away your three points are from one another, the less important the mountains, valleys and oceans are, and the more important the overall shape of the Earth is to your measurement. The converse would have been true if the Earth were shaped with negative curvature, like a saddle, as shown below.

Triangle on a saddle, of negative curvature

Image credit: John D. Norton from the University of Pittsburgh.

A surface of negative curvature has any three points form a triangle whose three angles sum to less than 180°, and again, knowing the distances and measurements of all three angles allows you to calculate the radius of curvature.

In practice, the very first calculation of the circumference of the Earth — dating to the 3rd Century B.C. — used a very similar method, again reliant on simple geometry.

Eratosthenes measurement of the Earth's circumference

Image credit: NOAA Ocean Service Education's history of geodesy.

It would not be until the 20th Century that we were actually able to achieve altitudes capable of measuring the curvature of the Earth from space, something we are only able to do because we can step off of the two-dimensional surface of the Earth and look at it from afar.

The Earth from space: 1946

Image credit: Johns Hopkins University & the U.S. Navy.

By 1948, we were creating mosaics of the Earth by stitching together multiple images of the Earth from space, and there could no longer be any doubt as to its circumference.

Panorama of the Earth from 1948.

Image credit: Johns Hopkins / U.S. Navy, from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

But space itself is a little trickier. Yes, it is just a geometric construct (albeit a slightly more complicated one), but it also has an inherent curvature to it. The amount that the space of our Universe is curved is directly related to the amount of matter and energy that we have in it.

Light bending by a massive object

Image credit: Francesco Iacopino of Learning is Beautiful.

Dense, heavy masses like the Sun cause very large amounts of curvature in very small spaces, significant enough to bend starlight by amounts significant enough you could notice it with 1919′s technology. But that’s local curvature, the same way mountains, valleys and oceans are local curvature here on Earth; what we’re interested in is whether the entire Universe ever closes back in on itself, and if so, how big it is. In other words, these local sources of curvature are things we need to not be fooled by.

The Earth, too, curves the spacetime around it. Remember that we use two dimensions as an illustration, but unlike measuring the curvature of Earth, where we can fly “up” and observe the planet below, there is no extra dimension to move through to step back from the curvature of space.

How mass curves spacetime in 3-D

Image credit: Christopher Vitale of Networkologies and the Pratt Institute.

All of the spatial dimensions are curved. Since stepping back from the Universe and observing it from afar isn’t an option, the only way to get a good handle on its curvature is to examine it on its largest scales, and try to infer its geometry.

Millenium simulation from Volker Springel et al., from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

Image credit: V. Springel et al., MPA Garching, and the Millenium Simulation.

In principle, this is pretty straightforward. Just as any three points on a surface can help you calculate that surface’s curvature, you can do the exact same thing with the Universe! Take any three points that are far enough apart, measure the distances between those points and the relative angles between them as well, and you’ll be able to figure out not only how your spacetime is curved, but also what the radius of curvature is!

Shape of spacetime in the Universe

Image credit: Dave Goldberg and Jeff Blomquist.

You can imagine three possible cases, of course. One is where the Universe is positively curved, like a higher-dimensional sphere, one is where the Universe is totally flat, like a higher-dimensional grid, and one where the Universe is negatively curved, like a higher-dimensional saddle. In the context of general relativity, it’s the energy density — the amount of matter and all other forms of energy — that determine this curvature.

Shape of spacetime in the Universe

Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team / Gary Hinshaw.

In real life, we don’t have man-made objects far enough away to communicate with us across the necessary distances to measure curvature. Even if we did, it would take billions of years to do it, which is a disheartening way to attempt to do science. But we have light signals from when the Universe was just 380,000 years old, that tell us what the Universe is like 46 billion light years away.

The fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background — the leftover glow from the big bang — provide a window allowing us to see how our Universe is curved.

Shape of the Universe, as it affects the CMB

Image credit: Smoot Cosmology Group / Lawrence Berkeley Labs.

The first robust measurements of this came from the BOOMERanG experiment in the late 1990s (hearing Paolo de Bernardis talk about this in 2004 was a highlight for me during the early stages of my scientific career), where they first determined that rather than having significant positive or negative curvature, the Universe was indistinguishable from flat.

Curvature of space as measured by Boomerang.

Image credit: A.E. Lange and P. de Bernardis et al. for the Boomerang collaboration.

That doesn’t mean that it is flat, of course. If you walked outside and tried to measure the curvature of the Earth right now, but only within 5 km (or 3 miles) of your current location, you would find that the Earth is consistent with being flat, but it could also be positively or negatively curved on a larger scale than you’re currently measuring.

So it goes with the Universe as well. We were able to measure that the Universe, if it is curved, has a much larger radius of curvature than that of our observable Universe, which is about 46 billion light years. But if we could make that measurement more precise, we could conceivably measure a much smaller curvature than even that. Thanks to the WMAP satellite, we now have the temperature fluctuations over the entire sky measured at a very narrow, less-than-half-a-degree resolution.

CMB from WMAP satellite

Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team.

And what they teach us is that not only is the Universe consistent with being flat, it’s really, really, REALLY flat! If the Universe does curve back and close on itself, its radius of curvature is at least 150 times as large as the part that’s observable to us! Meaning that — even without speculative physics like cosmic inflation — we know that the entire Universe extends for at least 14 trillion light years in diameter, including the part that’s unobservable to us today.

When you can only see a tiny part, you cannot distinguish your Universe from flat

Image credit: Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial.

Just because the part of it we can see is indistinguishable from flat doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically flat in its entirety. But it does mean that the Universe is far larger than we’ll ever see. Even taking the minimum allowable estimate for the size of the Universe means that, at most, less than 0.0001% of the volume of the Universe is presently or will ever be observable to us. Once you put our knowledge about dark matter and dark energy in there, you’ll realize that we’ll never see more of the Universe than we can right now.

So all that we see — the billions of stars in our galaxy, the hundreds of billions of galaxies lighting up the observable Universe — is just a teeny-tiny fraction of what’s actually out there, beyond what we can see. And yet, we can know that it’s there. Isn’t science wonderful?


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: big; curvature; godsgravesglyphs; haltonarp; stringtheory; universe; xplanets
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1 posted on 07/21/2012 12:57:28 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
It's thiiiiiiiiissssssssss big....


2 posted on 07/21/2012 1:28:18 AM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: LibWhacker

The Universe pisses me off.


3 posted on 07/21/2012 1:31:18 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Borg Zombies walk around groaning "Commmppuutteerrrrssss......Commmppuutteerrrrssss......")
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To: Lazamataz

I don’t believe in physical matter. We are all imagining this together within the confines of God’s laws.


4 posted on 07/21/2012 1:45:24 AM PDT by GeorgeWashingtonsGhost
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To: LibWhacker

5 posted on 07/21/2012 1:54:57 AM PDT by caveat emptor (Zippity Do Dah)
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To: LibWhacker

Not big enough for Obama, Michelle and myself. I think they should leave.


6 posted on 07/21/2012 1:58:53 AM PDT by Irenic (The pencil sharpener and Elmer's glue is put away-- we've lost the red wheel barrow)
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To: LibWhacker

This photo shouldn't be possible. By all rights it should be all black or at best a foggy glow. The density of the Universe must be set to a knife edge in order to see any visible structure across 10 billion light years. Yet we see spectacular galaxies more than halfway across the Universe.

It's as if God wants us to see his creation and marvel at it.

7 posted on 07/21/2012 2:43:17 AM PDT by Gideon7
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To: LibWhacker; SunkenCiv

8 posted on 07/21/2012 2:54:52 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: LibWhacker

When i was in high school, our science teacher told the class that space has no end.. The girl next to me stood up and said, “ thats impossible for space to have no end, there has to be a wall out there..” -— I looked at the girl and said, “ well, whats on the other side of the wall?”.. ——I guess the human mind can’t process something thats eternal and has no end..


9 posted on 07/21/2012 2:58:58 AM PDT by chicken head
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To: LibWhacker

It’s a great big universe
And we’re all really puny
We’re just tiny little specks
About the size of Mickey Rooney.

(Animaniacs)


10 posted on 07/21/2012 3:03:23 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: chicken head

Thinking about what’s beyond that wall freaks me out more than anything else.


11 posted on 07/21/2012 3:06:44 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Ha Ha — i know when you think about it - it gets freaky.. something that doesnt end is strange to us because we have a beginning and a end— Only God has stated he had no beginning and has no end— God wasnt born, he was always there— thats stange to the human mind, and hard to process—lol


12 posted on 07/21/2012 3:12:56 AM PDT by chicken head
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To: LibWhacker
" How Big is the Entire Universe?"

"It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination. ---Douglas Adams

13 posted on 07/21/2012 3:18:20 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: LibWhacker
Wait a second, so you're telling me that if Omega is greater than 1, the universe is shaped like a donut? (...since a saddle is just a section of the surface of a torroid.)

How are astrophysicists supposed to maintain any dignity if it turns out the universe is shaped like a donut?

14 posted on 07/21/2012 4:01:53 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: LibWhacker

Yes it is truly awesome to comprehend the incredible scope of the heavens but remember this......those heavens themselves comprehend nothing.


15 posted on 07/21/2012 5:08:18 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: LibWhacker

Whatever size the universe is, it’s not enough.


16 posted on 07/21/2012 5:36:04 AM PDT by Misterioso (They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it. - Monk)
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To: martin_fierro; AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; ...
Thanks martin_fierro. I think this has been the best couple of weeks for the X-Planets and String Theory lists in quite some time.

· String Theory Ping List ·
721 posted on 04/24/2007 8:14:42 PM PDT by DocRock
· Join · Bookmark · Topics · Google ·
· View or Post in 'blog · post a topic · subscribe ·


17 posted on 07/21/2012 6:26:14 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: martin_fierro; KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...
Thanks martin_fierro. I think this has been the best couple of weeks for the X-Planets and String Theory lists in quite some time.
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · " target="x" title="post a new topic">post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

18 posted on 07/21/2012 6:26:14 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks martin_fierro.

There's even a GGG connection:
In practice, the very first calculation of the circumference of the Earth -- dating to the 3rd Century B.C. -- used a very similar method, again reliant on simple geometry. Image credit: NOAA Ocean Service Education's history of geodesy.

Alexandria
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


19 posted on 07/21/2012 6:29:37 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: LibWhacker
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travelers and researchers.

The introduction begins like this:

Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-boggling big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen… and so on.

(After awhile the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete while on the planet is surgically removed from your body weight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt.)

To be fair though, when confronted by the sheer enormity of the distances between the stars, better minds than the one responsible for the Guide's introduction have faltered. Some invite you to consider for a moment a peanut in Reading and a small walnut in Johannesburg, and other such dizzying concepts.

The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination.

Even light, which travels so fast that it takes most races thousands of years to realize that it travels at all, takes time to journey between the stars. It takes eight minutes to journey from the star Sol to the place where the Earth used to be, and four years more to arrive at Sol's nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Proxima.

For light to reach the other side of the Galaxy, for it to reach Damogran, for instance, takes rather longer: five hundred thousand years.

The record for hitchhiking this distance is just under five years, but you don't get to see much on the way.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says that if you hold a lungful of air you can survive in the total vacuum of space for about thirty seconds. However, it does go on to say that what with space being the mind-boggling size it is the chances of getting picked up by another ship within those thirty seconds are two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand, seven hundred and nine to one against.

-Douglas Adams

20 posted on 07/21/2012 6:49:48 AM PDT by GreenLanternCorps ("Barack Obama" is Swahili for "Jimmy Carter".)
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To: LibWhacker

how can the universe be a trillion light years wide and only 14 billion years old?
how can it expand faster then light?


21 posted on 07/21/2012 6:57:14 AM PDT by The Free Engineer
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To: LibWhacker

Very interesting. Thanks for posting.


22 posted on 07/21/2012 7:12:45 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: GeorgeWashingtonsGhost
*** I don’t believe in physical matter. ***

Basically you're correct. 'Physical matter' is composed mostly of empty space.

For example:
Say you place a marble, representing the nucleus of a Hydrogen atom, on one goal line of a football field, and a ball bearing, representing the electron, on the opposite goal line. THAT is what a Hydrogen atom would look like on the quantum scale. Mostly EMPTY space. So 'matter' is relative to the scale you're talking about. Every nanosecond billions of atomic particles are going right through our body and we don't even know it as they're going through our body's 'empty space'.

*** We are all imagining this together within the confines of God’s laws.***

That may well be true. As least the part about "within the confines of God’s laws".

I do believe in the Big Bang but that doesn't preclude God from being involved as 'something' had to make the Big Bang happen (and God said: Let there be light), and 'some one' had to make the Singularity 'explode' in the first place.

So we could be like a huge Ant Farm (how big is 'the Universe' to an ant?). Or 'we' could be like some super-duper Computer Game like 'Sim City' that God's playing.

And I don't think 'we' are ever meant to know that.

23 posted on 07/21/2012 7:24:48 AM PDT by Condor51 (Never mess with an old man. He won't fight you he'll just kill you.)
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To: LibWhacker
The fact that you can go to the beach and see a sharp horizon and see ships disappear below it is a good indication that the world is finite.
On a flat world, the ships would just appear smaller and smaller and eventually vanish like in a fog.

24 posted on 07/21/2012 7:52:02 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: LibWhacker
>>> "How Big is the Entire Universe?" <<<

I ran a cycle on all the theories, calcs and factors you posted and came up with the answer ----> SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN SKOKIE, ILLINOIS.

25 posted on 07/21/2012 8:00:14 AM PDT by jmax (I'm armed...round is chambered...full magazine is inserted...safety is off.)
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To: chicken head

10-4 on that. The thought of NEVER ending is impossible to imagine but the thought of NEVER beginning, even doubly so.


26 posted on 07/21/2012 8:01:32 AM PDT by JPG (Whatever semantics are used, it is still a TAX.)
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To: LibWhacker

I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s really, really big.


27 posted on 07/21/2012 8:07:33 AM PDT by Peter W. Kessler (Dirt is for racing... asphalt is for getting there.)
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To: Yardstick
How are astrophysicists supposed to maintain any dignity if it turns out the universe is shaped like a donut?

I know. While looking through a telescope I occasionally see the back of my head. Then I realize it is the back of my head billions of years ago and that really blows my mind.

28 posted on 07/21/2012 8:07:56 AM PDT by Starstruck
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To: Lazamataz
The Universe pisses me off.

I would have chosen different language but, if I get your drift, I agree with you. How can something be so big and so vast that are we not allowed to see it all and to go there?

Why?

Very, very frustrating.

29 posted on 07/21/2012 8:41:14 AM PDT by InterceptPoint (TIN)
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To: InterceptPoint
I say we ban the Universe.

It's just sitting there, doing nothing. Damned waste of precious resources, if you ask me.

30 posted on 07/21/2012 8:53:15 AM PDT by Lazamataz (I hate the Universe, and it hates me.)
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To: LibWhacker

The Bible states that the Lord created us for his pleasure. Somehow, at the present time, it looks like we aren’t too pleasurable. - The child in the photo with outstretched arms describing “how big” explains it all.


31 posted on 07/21/2012 9:08:56 AM PDT by Twinkie (Isaiah 53)
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To: LibWhacker

I knoe that all that I do know that I know one thing that I know nothing.

Plato

something like that don’t recall it for sure.


32 posted on 07/21/2012 9:34:37 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: LibWhacker

I know that all that I do know that I know one thing that I know nothing.

Plato

something like that don’t recall it for sure.

dang e


33 posted on 07/21/2012 9:35:06 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: chicken head
There are no actual infinites. It is said that our galaxy has between 100 billion and 200 billion stars. It is said that there are in excess of 100 billion galaxies. The distance, on average between stars averages about 30 trillion miles. To give an example that allows a modicum of analogous comparison.....If a grain of sand on all of the beaches and deserts of the world was considered a star, and the distance between each grain of sand was 30 trillion miless.....that gives one a starting place. Count the number of grains of sand on all beaches and deserts and that is about how many stars that we know exists. But it must be remembered that the universe continues to expand, and moreover, it is expanding as a rate which is faster than the speed of light.

It is a remarkable, reasonable universe essentially governed in the physical realm by essentially 4 forces. We sent up a space probe in 1977 and it is traveling at about 17,000 miles per hour, and it is only now leaving our solar system. That is 35 years (roughly) moving at 17,000 per hour, each hour for 35 years and it is only now leaving our solar system.

34 posted on 07/21/2012 11:04:35 AM PDT by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: martin_fierro

If you hear the aliens ask how small it is, then you know we are in trouble


35 posted on 07/21/2012 11:36:12 AM PDT by TomasUSMC ( FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM)
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To: Condor51

Well, it’s all relative, right? So perhaps the universe is no bigger than say, a golf ball. God may not play dice with the universe, but maybe it’s a golf ball on the Big Guy’s putting green.


36 posted on 07/21/2012 11:42:54 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: Gideon7
Yet we see spectacular galaxies more than halfway across the Universe.

If we don't know where it ends, how can we determine the half way point? But I do get your point.

37 posted on 07/21/2012 11:49:01 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Free people, when presented only with evil choices, create other choices.(EternalVigilance))
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To: Yardstick

If it’s shaped like a torroid then there’s a cop somewhere, right?


38 posted on 07/21/2012 11:50:46 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: chicken head
God wasnt born, he was always there— thats stange to the human mind, and hard to process

That's why I gave it up, a long time ago, it makes my brain hurt.

I'm reminded of Matthew 19:

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

39 posted on 07/21/2012 11:57:14 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Free people, when presented only with evil choices, create other choices.(EternalVigilance))
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To: Gideon7

I agree 100%. The sad thing is far too many people do not marvel at it or have any inclination to study it (not people in this thread necessarily, but in general).


40 posted on 07/21/2012 12:10:34 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Lancey Howard

Lol


41 posted on 07/21/2012 12:12:12 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: chicken head

Freakier yet are the problems with the disk accretion theory of planetary formation, which, if disproved, leave us with impossible odds of a planet capable of supporting life, to the point that it may well take an infinite universe to create not only a planet with life, but a planet with sentient life. We may, in fact, be the only life out there. What this does to theology or our sense of purpose is anyone’s guess. My take is that we simply don’t have the smarts to suss this and similar questions yet. I’m hoping that we have the smarts now that could get us to where we can figure out the conundrums of existence. If we don’t, game over.


42 posted on 07/21/2012 12:30:00 PM PDT by Yollopoliuhqui
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To: MHGinTN
If it’s shaped like a torroid then there’s a cop somewhere, right?

Only good cops.

43 posted on 07/21/2012 12:37:59 PM PDT by BlueDragon
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To: The Free Engineer
Hi, FE! Nothing with mass can travel faster than light in a vacuum. But that law of physics says nothing about how fast space itself can inflate.

The universe may have inflated from the size of a mote of dust to the size of today's observable universe, all during the first few moments of the Big Bang.

Personally, I don't like the term 'inflation' because to me it implies movement, making me erroneously, so many times in the past, wonder how anything could go faster than the speed of light. I'm not a physicist, but I like to think what really happened during the first few moments of the Big Bang was that space itself was actually being created everywhere at a tremendous rate -- including between all the bits of debris in the Big Bang, thereby increasing the distance between those bits (if I'm wrong on this point would some physicist please chime in and correct me? thx).

The expansion continues to this day, but not as rapidly (though it is accelerating).

You can read a little about inflation here.

44 posted on 07/21/2012 12:46:36 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Texas Songwriter

Ok- Lets blow up a balloon and lets say our galaxy as we know it and all we know is inside that balloon— then whats beyond the ballon (or whats holding up the balloon)and beyond the next— it must keep going forever— there is no beginning of space and no end to it.


45 posted on 07/21/2012 1:42:44 PM PDT by chicken head
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To: SunkenCiv

God leaves clues of the unknown when he gets angry with Job and demands answers-(JOB chapter 38 thu 42.)- In gen. chapter 1 he states that the earth was built upon water


46 posted on 07/21/2012 2:30:49 PM PDT by chicken head
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To: chicken head
Ok- Lets blow up a balloon and lets say our galaxy as we know it and all we know is inside that balloon— then whats beyond the ballon (or whats holding up the balloon)and beyond the next— it must keep going forever— there is no beginning of space and no end to it.

What is beyond the balloon (universe)?......Nothing.....Aristotle, when asked what is nothing,....he replied...."Nothing...is what rocks dream of...No thing. Space is a thing...there is no space beyond the spacial boundary....dimentionally speaking. It is a very hard concept. Think of it this way...the universe began at a moment and at that moment time, space, energy, matter....all came to be. The explosion of creation was a release of energy on a scale which we simply cannot comprehend, and from that there came to be 10 to the 80th atomic particles. Also space came to be. We know that at the pressures and temperature the character of matter was unlike anything we know of now and that the rate of expansion at Plank time was unimaginable. But it expanded at a rate. Then 2 minutes later the expansion continued at an incredible rate, creating space. And that has been occurring since the explosion....and space has been being created. That barrier continues to expand at a rate faster than the speed of light. Matter and energy are fixed (2nd thermal law). So as we speak ther is not a condition where space goes on forever. There is a barrier (constantly expanding).

Will it go on forever....No.....eventually, without intervention, will die a cold death, with all atoms, subatomic particles, being washed out into a cosmic ocean of near nothingness, approaching absolute zero....entropy will have completed its mission. But it will titrate to an end, and space will cease to expland(or nearly so).

If you want to read more on the subject look at Kaalams Cosmological Arguemnt, The Cosmological Arguements (both of these arguements are families of arguements explaining these matters)

47 posted on 07/21/2012 2:38:14 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: Texas Songwriter

It cant be nothing— our planet earth sits in a galaxy, the galaxy sits in the known universe— well, whats the known universe setting in? then what that setting in, and so forth?


48 posted on 07/21/2012 3:07:00 PM PDT by chicken head
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To: chicken head

But, there is NO THING.....nothing. What is logic made of? What is love made of? What is the physical makeup of consciounsess, or the number 3, or any abstract entity? Nothing...that is the physical makeup of that beyond the time/space barrier. It is, I will agree, a very difficult concept....but that is it.


49 posted on 07/21/2012 3:17:40 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: Texas Songwriter

OK- i can understand how a planet would have a beginning- But how does a universe start? does it have a beginning or birth? or has space always been there with no birth? were did the void come from before stars and planets?


50 posted on 07/21/2012 3:45:00 PM PDT by chicken head
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