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Altheia

Is the universe finite?

48 posts in this topic

A cosmic hall of mirrors

Feature: September 2005

Most astronomers think that the universe is infinite, but recent measurements suggest that it could be finite and relatively small. Indeed, as Jean-Pierre Luminet describes, we could be living in an exotic universe shaped rather like a football

At a Glance: Cosmic topology

• There are three possibilities for the curvature of the universe: space can be flat, spherical or hyperbolic

• The geometry of the universe depends on its curvature and also on its topology, which governs the way space is connected and so determines if it is finite or infinite

• Measurements of the cosmic microwave background constrain the curvature of the universe and provide hints about its topology

• Recent data suggest that the universe might be multiply connected, like the left- and right-hand sides of the screen in a computer game

• Since the early 1990s the number of cosmo-topologists around the world has grown to more than 50

full article: http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/18/9/3

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A cosmic hall of mirrors

Feature: September 2005

Most astronomers think that the universe is infinite, but recent measurements suggest that it could be finite and relatively small. Indeed, as Jean-Pierre Luminet describes, we could be living in an exotic universe shaped rather like a football

At a Glance: Cosmic topology

• There are three possibilities for the curvature of the universe: space can be flat, spherical or hyperbolic

• The geometry of the universe depends on its curvature and also on its topology, which governs the way space is connected and so determines if it is finite or infinite

• Measurements of the cosmic microwave background constrain the curvature of the universe and provide hints about its topology

• Recent data suggest that the universe might be multiply connected, like the left- and right-hand sides of the screen in a computer game

• Since the early 1990s the number of cosmo-topologists around the world has grown to more than 50

full article: http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/18/9/3

Hi Altheia: Interesting data. :)

I believe the universe is finite, but that's just my opinion.

http://ashiana.conforums.com/index.cgi

~ Isis

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The universe is finite. Space is infinite. If space was finite we would se the same stars and galaxies on the right and on the left.

Edited by Ghostkol

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The universe is infinite.

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but how can something infinite grow? which is what the universe is doing according to the majority of respectable scientists.

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but how can something infinite grow? which is what the universe is doing according to the majority of respectable scientists.

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I believe it is infinite.. how can it grow if they cant even measure its parameters? Even if it was finite what could possibly be outside it?.. Its unimaginable

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but how can something infinite grow? which is what the universe is doing according to the majority of respectable scientists.

The stars, planets, moons, asteroids, etc. are all finite, there is a certain amount of them out there...there isn't an infinite number of stars in the universe. The empty space is infinite though...the planets and stars are just moving further into the infinite emptiness.

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Sorry annie WRONG!!! ^_^

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but how can something infinite grow? which is what the universe is doing according to the majority of respectable scientists.

This is the basis of infiniteness... If a finite set of objects constantly gains a new object every now and then it is infinite because it does not end. It's like with numbers: 1+1+1+1+1+1.... and on and on forever. Or, the universe is finite, but its far too big for human comprehension (I can't even full comprehend the distance between Munich and Budapest and I'm not that obtuse)

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This is the basis of infiniteness... If a finite set of objects constantly gains a new object every now and then it is infinite because it does not end. It's like with numbers: 1+1+1+1+1+1.... and on and on forever. Or, the universe is finite, but its far too big for human comprehension (I can't even full comprehend the distance between Munich and Budapest and I'm not that obtuse)

You're saying that it could grow to infiniteness. That could be yes. Untill it implodes or whatever. But in order to know that something grows you first have to know it's measurements. So if it's infinite it cannot grow, yet our universe seems to. So following that logic that would mean the universe is finit.

Edited by Altheia

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There was a very good article in the newscientist magazine on it, however you have to pay for the magazine and the article online :( I have it but i'm not typing but 4 pages of text :P . It gives diagrams and everything.

Don't click here....

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The universe is finite. Space is infinite. If space was finite we would se the same stars and galaxies on the right and on the left.

I agree.

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Here's an interesting article from Space.com.

If the universe is closed, though, then what is beyond the universe? Weeks took his best shot at answering this confounding question:

"The universe is finite," he said, "but there's no boundary to it," implying that there is no beyond, or that if there is, then its nature is left to your imagination and is outside the closed system that astronomers can ever hope to see.

Personally, I try not to think about it too much...tends to give me a headache!

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You're saying that it could grow to infiniteness. That could be yes. Untill it implodes or whatever. But in order to know that something grows you first have to know it's measurements. So if it's infinite it cannot grow, yet our universe seems to. So following that logic that would mean the universe is finit.

But if it's constantly growing you cannot measure it because it will be bigger by the time you've finished, so you can start the measuring all over again... :)

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I think the concept of infinity is a complex one. If we consider the Big Bang the beginning of our universe, and that the universe has been expanding ever since, I would say the universe can't be infinite because it had a starting point in time. For such an expanding universe to be infinite an infinite amount of time would have had to elapse since the BB.

Also, as far as a finite number of stars expanding into an infinite space, the universe isn't expanding into any pre-existing space, space itself 'is' the universe...space itself is what is expanding. There is no space 'outside' the universe for it to expand into.

Physical infinity would involve volume and time. There may exist an infinite number of universes, each creating their own finite spacetimes from their own BB creations, but each individual universe would be finite. Thinking about it in this way, there was never the 'first' universe and there will never be the 'last' because time only exists within each universe. If we could imagine the whole of these infinite number of universes existing, there is still nothing 'outside' of them, no infinite volume for these universes to exist within.

Mathematicians deal with infinities, but I don't think any physical infinity can exist. An infinite physical reality would require, for instance, having existed for an infinite amount of time in the past, and existing for an infinite amount of time in the future. Since within this reality a clock is always ticking, there will always be another future moment, and an infinite future will never be realized. Just some thoughts from a new member.

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I think the universe can be finite have an actual physical barrier and still expand... Solid matter can condense on a micro scale or become denser and on a macro scale can change from a solid to a liquid or a gas expand then resolidify. Anything is plausible, infact I wrote a paper on exactly how such a process could work. As to what is beyond the barrier, it's anyones guess.

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The last book I read about that said that the universe itself is finite and is of an elliptical shape, which means that there could be more than one universe out there in the infinite space.

I'll check the book again, it's been a while :rolleyes:

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Yeah, but how could they possibly prove that?

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Given that the universe is expanding (something that has been emperically observed) it must have therefore had a smaller state, therefore a beginning*, and therefore it must be finite.

It is also not true that space is infinite while the universe is finite. Space and time are intrinsically linked to the laws of this universe. We've known this for over 100 years. So its impossible for one - say, space - to be infinite yet the other (the universe) finite.

It is important to realise that there isn't an "infinite" amount of space outside of out universe, the laws simply don't work that way. Space as we know it ONLY exists inside our universe.

(*something we can only guess at, as we simply don't have the mathematical tools to delve that deeply.... yet)

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Guys, space is the emptyness, emptyness cannoot be finite. The Universe is finite because it is just matter in emptyness, and that emptyness is space. As simple as that. At the end of the universe, all the matter. There is more emptyness, thats why it is black, but the universe is constantly explanding in more of that emptyness and will continue too.

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I think the universe can be finite have an actual physical barrier and still expand... Solid matter can condense on a micro scale or become denser and on a macro scale can change from a solid to a liquid or a gas expand then resolidify. Anything is plausible, infact I wrote a paper on exactly how such a process could work. As to what is beyond the barrier, it's anyones guess.

Hi Eieam Wun:

So what you're saying is that it could be comparable to air inside a balloon whereby as the air is pushed through the balloon, the balloon expands. So if that barrier is very strong, it would cause the universe to contract, and if the barrier would not very strong(as is a balloon), the barrier would break from the force of the expansion of the universe and thus reveal what could be outside that barrier.

Interesting.

linked-image

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universe expansion may be faulty observation due to limited perspective, shifts warped by time may give false color etc...

planet/star expansion is fairly well confirmed no? those are finite things.

If the universe is finite, or some type of closed system, it is possible it can still expand, possibly infinately.

my favorite theory so far is the one that says if you leave the milky way in a straight line, eventually you will see the milky way approaching from the front

fits with the megaverse/multiverse thing, not that I completely subscribe to that either

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I had this thought when looking at the stars, one night....

You know how things appear solid to us, but really there is loads of space in every 'atom' (or what-ever you want to call it).

I've heard the analogy that if an atom was the size of a football pitch...then the nucleus and electrons would be like tiny marbles.

Anyway...I looked at the stars and wondered if all the stars were seen at the same distance....would there be a 'wall' of light.

In other words...is the universe a sphere of light?

Do the stars make the edge of the sphere, but they seem to be far apart to us...like the content of atom would if we could see it.

Don't know if this makes sense...but I surpose I'm saying that I think the universe is finite...and that the edge of it, is what-ever it is that we perceive as light.

Maybe, perhaps, possibly...who knows? Just wanted to share this thought. :)

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I truly believe this question is beyond the comprehension of human intelligence. Are we a universe inside of a larger universe? If the Universe is finit, what is beyond the universe? Far too complicated.

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