The universe is smaller than once thought!

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Lifer
Jan 7, 2002
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The estimate comes from data obtained by a space probe that is examining the so-called Cosmic Background Radiation - often called the echo of the Big Bang.

The echo contains information of what the cosmos was like when it was young and how it might develop.

The cosmos is 13.7bn years old but the stretching of space with its expansion after the Big Bang means that simple distance measurements do not apply.

Stretched space

This age estimate comes from two independent lines of investigation - the age of stars and the expansion of the Universe.

This means that radiation reaching us from the earliest Universe has been travelling for more than 13 billion years.

But the assumption that flows from this - that the radius of the Universe is 13.7 billion light-years and that it is 27.4 billion light-years wide does not follow.

Astronomers realise the Universe is more complex. It has been expanding ever since the Big Bang when energy, space and time itself began.

According to Neil Cornish of Montana State University, US, and colleagues writing in the journal Physics Review Letters, the distance covered by the light in the early Universe gets increased by its overall expansion.

To get the picture try to imagine the Universe a million years after the Big Bang. Light travels for a year, covering one light-year. But at that time, the Universe was about a thousand times smaller than it is today meaning that one light-year has now become stretched to about a thousand light-years.

When this expansion is taken into account, the Universe becomes 78 billion-light-years across, making it bigger than it would appear to be.

Neither finite nor infinite

Because of this stretching, radiation from the early Universe cannot be said to have travelled 78 billion light-years.

What it means is that the starting point of a particle of light, a photon, reaching us today after travelling for 13.7 billion years is now 78 billion light-years away.

NASA'S WILKINSON PROBE

Launched to obtain full-sky images of 13 billion+ year-old temperature fluctuations in CMB
Temperature differences correspond to "seeds" that grew to become stars and galaxies
Data help answer questions about age and geometry of Universe
And that is the radius of the Universe. Confused?

The new estimate comes from analysing data obtained by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMap) which has been studying the Cosmic Background Radiation which formed about 400,000 years after the Big Bang.

Subtle differences in the background radiation can tell astronomers the age of the Universe and other cosmological parameters.

One implication of the new analysis is to prove false the idea that one could, theoretically, look in one direction and eventually see the back of your head.

The researchers looked for evidence that multiple images of the same object could show up in different locations in space-time.

The predicted pattern in the CMB that would have shown the effect was not observed.

According to the researchers the latest work provides no evidence that the Universe is finite and no evidence that it is infinite either.

I said you might be confused.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Mar 5, 2001
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www.slatebrookfarm.com
Why is your thread title: "the universe is smaller than once thought!"

Don't you mean bigger? I think most people think the radius of the universe is the simple distance light would have travelled since the big bang, ie radius = 13.7 billion light years (give or take)

btw, I didn't realize they had pegged the age of the universe to 3 significant digits...

Anyway, here's a link for more info:Text
 

flot

Diamond Member
Feb 24, 2000
3,197
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The Spheres! The Spheres are manipulating space in the expanse!! We must stop them!
 

MAME

Banned
Sep 19, 2003
9,281
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THIS CONFLICTS WITH WHAT MY PRECIOUS BIBLE TELLS ME. PLEASE EDIT YOUR POST OTHERWISE I *WILL* TAKE LEGAL ACTION AS YOU ARE LIMITING MY FREEDOM!
 

Eli

Super Moderator | Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
50,422
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It has been expanding ever since the Big Bang when energy, space and time itself began.
That's a really bizzare concept.

So.. what was there before the Big Bang? Nothing?

Further, what is outside of our universe? The same "Nothing"?

:confused:

/head explodes
 

blakeatwork

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
4,117
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LOL

A train leaving Chicago, travelling at 50 mph.....


:p

kinda makes sense though... as the light emitted when we were at one stoppoint in the universe, will reach us at a point further away from when the light was emitted...

but yes, the concept behind what existed prior is one of those mind twisters.... I think it's damn near impossible for anyone to conceive absolute nothingness,,,
 

Eli

Super Moderator | Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
50,422
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Originally posted by: blakeatwork
LOL

A train leaving Chicago, travelling at 50 mph.....


:p

kinda makes sense though... as the light emitted when we were at one stoppoint in the universe, will reach us at a point further away from when the light was emitted...

but yes, the concept behind what existed prior is one of those mind twisters.... I think it's damn near impossible for anyone to conceive absolute nothingness,,,
Yeah. Hmm..

There couldn't be "nothing" outside of our universe. The Big Bang had to have happened in something. So...

If you scoff at the idea that we're the only planet in the universe that has or supports life, then it's not that far of a stretch to believe that our entire universe could be but one of trillions inside an even bigger.. something.

Wow.

/head explodes.. again.