The Universe (just for fun!)

Chapter 39

The Universe (just for fun!)

I have always been interested in the Universe. Like so many subjects it appears that we are finally catching up with the knowledge base that existed during earlier civilizations. For Example, the Mayans were aware of our Galaxy and the black hole around which the solar systems revolve.  Only a few hundred years ago the Earth was the center of our Universe. It took the observations of heretics to discover that the Sun was our center. Until relatively recently we thought that the Milky Way was our Universe. It took more powerful telescopic observations to reveal that our Galaxy is only one of between 100 & 200 Billion Galaxies (or so we think, because we really cannot see to the most outer boundary…if in fact there are boundaries!). Is it possible that our universe is merely one rather insignificant one among billions in the Multi-verse?

It is commonly accepted among physicists that the “observable” universe is expanding. If you accept the premise that it all started with (or at) a singularity smaller than an atom then, duuuh, it must have been expanding for quite a long time. One wonders why there has been any debate on this. However, the mind blowing observation is that space is expanding at an accelerated rate! In fact, there are observations that, for the galaxies furthest from us, the space is actually expanding at a rate that exceeds the speed of light. Impossible you say? Notice I speculate that space is expanding, not that there is anything traveling through space.

It does not take anything beyond simple algebra to determine that if space is expanding at a constantly accelerating rate then eventually that rate will exceed the speed of light, it’s only a matter of time and it appears that 13.7 Billion years has been enough time. The puzzling thing for physicists is why this is occurring? To resolve the dilemma they came up with “dark energy”. It appears that their equations would not work out until that came up with another “force” to explain the accelerating expansion. I prefer to think of it as the “x” force as we have no idea of its origin or nature. It is truly an unknown. Me thinks we really don’t know what we don’t know. Another oddity is the current speculation that the acceleration of the expansion began about 7.5 billion years ago. Why then and not from the beginning?

What is the shape of the universe? The simple answer is we do not know. There are a few theories, but there is no solid evidence for any of these. One leading theory is that the universe is relatively flat and egg shaped. Where is the center of the universe? Again, there are only theories on this. The leading one is mind blowing: there is no center, it exists at all points!

My guess is that our description of the universe (and the possible multi-verse) will continue to evolve and change.