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The unimaginable vastness of the universe.


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#1    Alan McDougall

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:43 PM

Greetings forum,

I am sure most of you have some concept of how truly huge our beautiful universe is, For the others who perhaps do not have a good perspective about this, I post this thread for them .I do not think it will generate much dialogue and my purpose for posting this topic was just for general interest and information.

However comments will be appreciated!

The unimaginable vastness of the universe

Author Alan McDougall

The distances in space are unimaginably vast beyond human comprehension. If I try, tell an uninformed that it is so many kilometers to the Sun or moon, will these people be able to comprehend these vast unbelievable distances. The moon and sun are a mere two light seconds and eight light minutes respectively from the earth.

Light travels at 300 000 kilometers a second or seven times around the earth in the same time. The moon is a mere 400 00 kilometers and the sun about 156 million kilometers from the earth respectively, next-door neighbors in fact. Even this is near distance on cosmological scale is almost impossible for anyone to truly comprehend.

What about our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri only 4.2 light years away and the next nearest star to the sun. Just around the corner on the vast cosmological scale.

It helps if one understands that the fastest object ever made by man “(spacecraft voyager at 100 000 kilometers per hour)” would take 80,000 years to get there. Then if you understand how amazingly fast that object actually goes one might begin to gleaning some understanding of how far away Alpha Centauri is. Moreover, Centauri is our next-door neighbor!

Then we can move further. Let us say, Epsilon Eridani, 10 light years away. That is over twice as far - Voyager would take close to 200,000 years to get there. All evidence of human civilization would be pretty much gone in a few thousand years, given an average society lifespan of about 1000 years or less, We're talking 200 societies coming and going before Voyager makes it to Epsilon Eridani. Moreover, Epsilon Eridani is right next door.

The Andromeda galaxy, The galaxy nearest to our own milky way galaxy is mere two million light years away.. Voyager would take forty thousand billion years (40,000,000,000,000) to get there. That is over 3300 times longer than the current postulated age of the universe, and that's our nearest galactic neighbor.

There are galaxies that are estimated to be 12 billion light years from earth and the strange objects called quasars even further at 14 billion light years. To reach far galaxies like these unimaginable remote objects, with a Voyager like spacecraft, would take almost an eternity and it is obvious that this cannot be the ultimate method of crossing the universe. I foresee instant teleportation or some type of mind contact means as the method used by advanced humanity communicating across the vastness of the universe in the very distant future. To explore the universe by means of a metal space craft at present seems a science fiction impossibility. But in time present perceived impossibilities might become a possibility!


"The universe could be a sphere of infinite radius"

By Alan McDougall 15/9/2007

© Copyright  Alan McDougall 2014

My quote, "The truth is the truth remains the truth no matter what we believe or do not believe even in total ignorance the truth is the truth!  What is absolute Truth?  What is the source of absolute truth  What is the source of life
Let the unknown become known.
We must know what we do not know (And admit it)
Regards Alan

#2    Gummug

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:36 AM

Beyond imagination, or conception, really. Thanks for the article.

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know....

#3    taniwha

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:10 AM

View PostAlan McDougall, on 07 June 2014 - 09:43 PM, said:

...The moon and sun are a mere two light seconds and eight light minutes respectively from the earth...

...Light travels at 300 000 kilometers a second or seven times around the earth in the same time...

The distance to the moon from Earth is about 1.282 light seconds away... Considerably less than 2 light seconds away.

" Where does yesterday go to? Where does tomorrow come from? Is not the universe the proginetor of space and time? "
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#4    Hugh

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:30 AM

View PostAlan McDougall, on 07 June 2014 - 09:43 PM, said:

The Andromeda galaxy, The galaxy nearest to our own milky way galaxy is mere two million light years away.. Voyager would take forty thousand billion years (40,000,000,000,000) to get there. That is over 3300 times longer than the current postulated age of the universe, and that's our nearest galactic neighbor.

Nope, a lot less!

Andromeda and our Milky Way galaxy are on a collision course and will start merging in about 4 billion years. :D

http://en.wikipedia....y_Way_collision


#5    coolguy

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:42 AM

I agree the universe is vast space don't end it jus keeps going and going and we live on a rock that's out in this space...


#6    Hawkin

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:48 AM

I've always wondered if atoms, neutrons and electrons were micro suns and planets in a micro universe. :lol:

   It's good to have some skepticism so you won't be gullible & naïve.
But to much skepticism can make you narrow minded to extraordinary possibilities.

#7    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 05:04 AM

A point I would add to that is the almost unimaginable emptiness of the universe, at least when it comes to matter.  Here is an example"

http://www.physics.o...etail.asp?id=41

Quote

This is because matter is incredibly, mind-bogglingly empty. An atom is like a miniature Solar System, with a tight nucleus playing the role of a Sun orbited by electrons like planets. But the nucleus is incredibly tiny compared with the orbits of the electrons. Tom Stoppard, the playwright, had the best image. He said, if the nucleus is like the altar of St Paul's cathedral, an electron is like a moth in the cathedral, one moment by the altar, the next by the dome. Imagine squeezing all the space out of an atom. Well, if you did that to all the atoms in all the people in the world, you could indeed fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube."

So too is space almost mind-boggling empty.  If I were the sun here in Vietnam the nearest other stars (the Centaurii system) would be maybe somewhere in Britain


#8    Gummug

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:22 PM

That's truly awesome too. At the risk of going off topic, another thing I think is fascinating about the universe, is that time itself is relative. Theoretically, if you could ride a photon to Alpha Centauri and back, you would not have aged a day and the trip would be instantaneous (at the speed of light), but the earth would be however many light years older that the trip took. I know light year is a measure of distance, but I think you know what I am saying.
Eta: going back and reading the OP, the earth would be 8.4 years older when you return.

Edited by Gummug, 08 June 2014 - 02:26 PM.

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#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:27 PM

As I recall if light could be in orbit, it would orbit the earth seven times in one second.  The closest star system other than the sun is at that speed over four years of travel away.


#10    Alan McDougall

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 08:14 PM

View PostHugh, on 08 June 2014 - 03:30 AM, said:

Nope, a lot less!

Andromeda and our Milky Way galaxy are on a collision course and will start merging in about 4 billion years. :D

http://en.wikipedia....y_Way_collision

It should be clear what I meant by the incomprehensible duration of time that would be needed for a voyager type spaceship to reach the Andromeda Galaxy, if that galaxy did not move towards or recede from the spaceship.

I am fully aware of the fact that our Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are approaching each other and will ultimate collide in the distant future. These two galaxies are approaching each other at a colossal speed, far quicker than the snail pace voyager spacecraft. Thus, I took this fact out of the equation, to get over to those not familiar with astronomy, the true vastness of the universe.

You can work it out yourself, if you doubt my calculations of how long it would take voyager to reach the Andromeda galaxy at it present speed!

I know what I am speaking about as far as astronomy is concerned, having been for many years a keen amateur astronomer, with my own German, equatorial mount 10 inch reflector telescope . Sadly I now live in a city, namely Johannesburg of which its light and smog pollution, makes almost impossible to get a clear view of the night sky.

My quote, "The truth is the truth remains the truth no matter what we believe or do not believe even in total ignorance the truth is the truth!  What is absolute Truth?  What is the source of absolute truth  What is the source of life
Let the unknown become known.
We must know what we do not know (And admit it)
Regards Alan

#11    StarMountainKid

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:45 AM

Perhaps the Universe isn't so big as it seems if we could describe the wave function of the universe.

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The wave function describes the quantum state of a system of one or more particles and contains all the information of the system...The Schrodinger equation determines how the wave function evolves over time.
http://en.wikipedia....ki/Wavefunction

Quote

Since the universal validity of the state function (wave function) description is asserted, one can regard the state functions themselves as the fundamental entities, and one can even consider the state function of the entire universe. In this sense this theory can be called the theory of the "universal wave function," since all of physics is presumed to follow from this function alone.
http://en.wikipedia....al_wavefunction

So maybe the universe or mega-verse is really a mathematical entity, or a complex wave function, however that may be conceptualized. In this sense, the universe may not have any 'size' at all. It might be a sort of illusion, a consequence or corollary of the universal wave function, just information and the evolution of that information.

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#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:32 AM

The universe only has size in our dimensions.  In other dimensions it doesn't exist.

This is what kinda gets me when people talk about a "nearby" dimension.  Such a thing would at least include our own dimensions.  Separate dimensions have nothing to do with each other and are neither near nor far from each other and might as well not exist as far as the other dimensions are concerned.


#13    Alan McDougall

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:59 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 09 June 2014 - 06:32 AM, said:

The universe only has size in our dimensions.  In other dimensions it doesn't exist.

This is what kinda gets me when people talk about a "nearby" dimension.  Such a thing would at least include our own dimensions.  Separate dimensions have nothing to do with each other and are neither near nor far from each other and might as well not exist as far as the other dimensions are concerned.

Of course size is a relative thing or idea, after all the tiny singularity of the big band which is said to have been smaller than the nucleus of an atom, was in fact, the biggest and largest object in the universe at that moment in time.

My quote, "The truth is the truth remains the truth no matter what we believe or do not believe even in total ignorance the truth is the truth!  What is absolute Truth?  What is the source of absolute truth  What is the source of life
Let the unknown become known.
We must know what we do not know (And admit it)
Regards Alan

#14    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 02:15 PM

View PostAlan McDougall, on 09 June 2014 - 01:59 PM, said:

Of course size is a relative thing or idea, after all the tiny singularity of the big band which is said to have been smaller than the nucleus of an atom, was in fact, the biggest and largest object in the universe at that moment in time.
It wasn't just an object IN the universe, it WAS the universe.

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#15    Alan McDougall

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:51 PM

View PostWaspie_Dwarf, on 09 June 2014 - 02:15 PM, said:

It wasn't just an object IN the universe, it WAS the universe.

Is my point so hard to understand size is a relative thing, thus the big bang singularity which was the biggest object in existence at that time?. The singularity was not the universe. it was loosely speaking the seed from which the universe grew, in a sense In a sense the tiny seed is not the huge tree it grows into over time.

Only after the big bang and the creation of of particles of matter, did the universe become the universe and one could begin to compare the sizes of object to that of other objects.

My quote, "The truth is the truth remains the truth no matter what we believe or do not believe even in total ignorance the truth is the truth!  What is absolute Truth?  What is the source of absolute truth  What is the source of life
Let the unknown become known.
We must know what we do not know (And admit it)
Regards Alan




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