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Bursting the Spherical Bubble: Universe Might Be Pill-Shaped

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:08 PM
Original message
Bursting the Spherical Bubble: Universe Might Be Pill-Shaped
Bursting the Spherical Bubble: Universe Might Be Pill-Shaped

Instead of being perfectly round like a globe, the universe might be a bit stretched in shape like a pill.

The newly proposed shape could be caused by a magnetic field that pervades the entire cosmos or defects in the fabric of space and time, researchers said.

Scientists in Italy base their proposal off data gathered by a NASA satellite known as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). This spacecraft is designed to scan the sky and measure the temperature of the heat left over from the Big Bang and now present throughout the universe in the form of microwaves.

So far data from this probe has helped nail down some of the most important details about the universe. This includes the age of the universe since the Big Bang, at 13.7 billion years; the time when the first atoms formed, at 380,000 years after the Big Bang; and how much of the universe is made of either ordinary matter or the mysteries known as dark matter and dark energy, at roughly 5, 25 and 70 percent, respectively.


The full article can be read at http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20061009/sc_space/burstin...
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. Or, indeed, "meatball-shaped" ...
More evidence of the noodley appendage at work ...
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is it a coincidence...
that galaxies are frisbee-shaped? I think not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisbeetarianism
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. A slightly squashed meatball
"On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed."

Here endeth the reading, ramen.
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Heretic!
Abandon your false god and embrace the One True Sausage!
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Noodly appendage with two meatballs,
one true sausage ... just more justification for the racist and sexist hegemonistic patriarchy that's lead us to the noodly, greasy mess we're in.

Just one word: Ravioli.
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. The penne is mightier than the ravioli
Ask not for whom the campanelle is boiled, it boils for thee.

:hide:

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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
5. More-easily swallowed than a sphere.
Pill-shaped is pill-shaped for a reason. ;-)
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. Does the Universe Have an Edge?
Linked to from that web page, it visually depicts
(sort of) 'finite but unbounded':

http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/060902_universe_ed...

Whether the Universe is really finite is uncertain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape_of_the_Universe

"Two strongly overlapping investigations within the study of global geometry are:

* whether the Universe is infinite in extent or is a compact space
* whether the Universe has a simply or non-simply connected topology"

It might even be that the Universe is non-simply connected,
i.e. it has a hole (or holes?) (an example of a shape with
a hole is a doughnut shape).

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I've seen models of a Moebius space
You know what a Moebius strip is, right? Take a strip of paper, twist it one half turn, and attach the two ends together. Now pick any point on the strip, and draw a line along the flat strip: you will come back to the same place you started with. A Moebius strip shows how a single dimension (ie a line) can be rendered on a two dimension surface (ie the paper) bent in three dimensions to create a finite length with no boundaries.

A Moebius space is similar, only one dimension higher. In a Moebius space, you can render a plane in a three dimensional space which is bent through four dimensions to create a finite plane (ie length and width) with no boundaries. The models I've seen look rather like a coffee mug with a "twist" in the handle.

The universe is finite (although really, really big.) If the universe also has no boundaries, then consider: the universe might very well be a 10-d space being drawn in an 11-d space which has been twisted through a 12-d space.

If that doesn't make your head hurt....
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Is it not known if the Universe is finite.
see
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/univers...

' Sweitzer goes on to say that the observable universe is probably part of a much larger universe, "which could be finite or infinite. Any global statements about the universe, such as overall extent, are speculative because they require extrapolating local mathematical theories and measurements beyond the observable universe." '

Thanks for the description of a Moebius space, that's new to me. I think the two ends that are attached are planes and the embedded plane is spliced together in a line (without a boundary). Something like that.

Physicists do talk about extra microscopic dimensions. Here's something weird from
http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=4155

' Physicists claim to have a beautiful and consistent theory of quantum gravity, yet they can't agree on the number of dimensions. Some say 10, and some say 11. Actually, our universe may have both 10 and 11 dimensions.

The classical notion of space-time loses its meaning in quantum theory. It's replaced by a more general concept, a "quantum space-time" where dimension is not a well-defined notion. We know a great deal about certain quantum space-times, which have many precise properties, but dimension is not one of those properties. '





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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Assuming the Big Bang, the universe itself *must* be finite
The Big Bang theory posits that the universe began as an extremely dense point, rapidly expanded and continues to expand. Into what, exactly, isn't the issue, but there would have to be some kind of boundary between our universe and this "metaverse." This boundary doesn't have to be accessable from within the universe, but it would exist. And even the metaverse needn't be infinite, as long as it remains more hugely finite than the universe.
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-11-06 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. It's not that simple...

see for example this thread ...
http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-5076.h...

one of the last posts ...

"I think the original argument was that the big bang cannot produce a spatially infinite universe since it must produce an expanding universe and spatially infinite universes cannot expand.

The point that spatially infinite universes may expand locally has already been made by myself and hurkyl.

So consider this: The big bang theory implies that the universe must have begun in a singular state, so the question becomes can spatially infinite universes have begun in a singular state a finite time ago?. According to the singularity theorems in GR, under reasonable assumptions - which by the way observation seems to support - the answer is yes."

I'm not a cosmologist, so I'm no expert on the subject, but consider this example in mathematics. The value tangent(x) goes from 0 at x=0 to infinity at x=Pi/2. That's a continuous expansion that becomes expansion at an infinite rate, so no discontinuous jump is involved (I don't even know if a discontinuous jump is ruled out in the singularity theorems, I don't know the subject at all). Secondly, it is certainly possible for the universe to be infinite and expand (e.g., 2*infinity = infinity).

Of course, the universe could be finite, I don't have a problem with that.





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Ptah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
8. How about a prolate shperoid
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 04:09 PM by Ptah


Are we ready for some football?

:shrug:


On edit, link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prolate_spheroid




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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. An American football is not a prolate spheroid
Although a rugby ball or Australian football are. The end points of a prolate spheroid are continuous while the end points of an American football are not.

I don't recall the proper name for that shape, but it can be described by taking a catenary of a=2.7 or so and spinning it around the Y axis.
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Ptah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Were you thinking of a Klein bottle?
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Assuming this should is a response to #7, yes
:hi: Although I remember it as being stranger looking. I knew there was a specific term for this object, thanks.
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TheBaldyMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
14. I once asked someone at Jodrell Bank what shape the universe was ...
The brainy fellow explained that each point in the cosmos was expanding away from all the other points.

If you imagine that we were at one point on the surface of a balloon and the balloon was being inflated that almost gave the whole picture.

The universe is so big we can't see what is happening on the other side for billions of years, by the time that light can reach us it is light that comes from the universe in a more primitive state.

Going back to balloon analogy, the opposite side of the balloon looks like it hasn't been inflated to the extent that we observe very close to the point we occupy. As you observe the surface of the balloon further away it looks less inflated so, he concluded, the universe is sort of pear-shaped!

Admittedly, this took place in the nineties when I was studying astrophysics and astronomy. It's a fast-moving field so I'm not surprised things might have changed in the intervening time.
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Miss Chybil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
18. If the universe has a shape, what's in the negative space outside
of it? Another universe? Does one end and another begin right next to it? If so, what's in between them? Maybe, they flow together like water droplets that get too close to each other, but what do they sit on? What's underneath the universe? What's on top of it? Augh! This stuff drives me crazy!
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. There is no way to know
Although it is interesteding to consider what might happen if our universe "bumped into" a neighboring universe and merging.
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