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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:21 AM
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New study super-sizes the universe
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Updated: 11:46 a.m.ET May24, 2004

If you've ever wondered how big the universe is, you're not alone. Astronomers have long pondered this, too, and they've had a hard time figuring it out. Now an estimate has been made, and its a whopper.

The universe is at least 156 billion light-years wide.

In the new study, researchers examined primordial radiation imprinted on the cosmos. Among their conclusions is that it is less likely that there is some crazy cosmic "hall of mirrors" that would cause one object to be visible in two locations. And they've ruled out the idea that we could peer deep into space and time and see our own planet in its youth.

First, let's see why the size is a number you've never heard of before.

Stretching reality
The universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Light reaching us from the earliest known galaxies has been travelling, therefore, for more than 13 billion years. So one might assume that the radius of the universe is 13.7 billion light-years and that the whole shebang is double that, or 27.4 billion light-years wide. /

Stretching reality: I wonder if the inability to rationalize concepts as above leads some people to religion?
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porkrind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:27 AM
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1. If you replace light-years with $$$,
It's about the same cost as the Iraq boondoggle, a quagmire of universal proportions. How depressing is that?

Thanks for the interesing article.

Read about the Right-Wing "Master Plan":

Have you read "War is a Racket"?:
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:32 PM
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2. Help me out here.
Assume the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago at a single point and the "border of the universe" would be the light front from the big bang. So the border of the universe would be 13.7 billion light years from the orignal "starting point."

Now this MSNBC article states that since the radius of the universe is 13.7 billion light years, the diameter must be 27.4 billion light years.

This is all fine and dandy if you lived 100+ years ago. But according to relativity if the radius is 13.7 billion light-years, since the universe began 13.7 billion years ago, then the diameter of the universe must be 13.7 billion light-years long. Not the double of the radius.

The "border" of the universe is expanding at the speed of light relative to the point of the big bang. However, since nothing can travel faster then the speed of light, the "border" relative to a point on the "border" on the opposite side of the universe must also be moving no more than the speed of light.

Doesn't make a lot of sense, but hey, it's modern physics.

So I'm wondering why the physicists in the article decide to just double the radius to get the diameter. Since they must be aware of the paradox.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:09 PM
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3. That is only assuming it is expanding...
uniformly. The most popular analogy is a blown up balloon, and that the universe expands like that. But what about mass disparaties and gravitational fluxes (Not to mention the possibility of Dark Matter and "Anti-Gravity"). Why would the Universe be symmetrical at all, maybe it is more like an Amoeba with tendrils outstretched at certain "Borders" and other irregularities. If that were true, then two points, perhaps very close together, relatively, could be accelerating away from each other at many times the speed of light, relative to each other. OK, brain just burned out, damn :) Perhaps the orgin of the Big Bang is no longer at the center at all anymore.
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