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The incomprehensible vastness of the universe


Forum Editor

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Scientists believe the explosion of a huge star near the edge of the observable Universe may be the most distant single object yet seen by a telecope. It's thought that the event occurred just 520 million years after the big bang. This means its light has taken 13.14 billion years to reach Earth.

Now that's what I call a long way. click here to read more

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john bunyan

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Some believe that ours is not the only universe and others may exist in other dimensions, perhaps with different rules. I find it hard to understand the concept that nothing existed before the big bang, and into what are the receding galaxies expanding. If the "big crunch" occurs and time stops, will there be another big bang- has there been an infinite number of such cycles?

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Forum Editor

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John Bunyan

"Has there been an infinite number of such cycles?"

It is thought not. Hawking and others believe - and this is the hard part - that time began at the instant of the big bang. If that's the case there can obviously not have been any previous big bangs, because there was no 'previous'. It makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

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rdave13

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'Big bang' is akin to God for me. No such thing. We have no capability of knowing when time or matter began. It's simply impossible for the most wonderful of brains to comprehend such matters of universal and monolithic nature of the univers. We Do Not KNOW.

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Forum Editor

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rdave13

"We Do Not KNOW"

We do, actually. Evidence for the big bang is everywhere.The universe is expanding in all directions, therefore it must have been smaller in the past. If that supposition holds true - and it does - there must have been a moment when the entire universe occupied an infinitesimally small point in space.

Another pointer is what's called Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CBM).

CBM is the 'white noise'of the universe, and it comes at us from everywhere in space. In reality it's the echo of the big bang, and is still resonating today.

Big bang theory predicts that quantities of various elements should exist in the universe, and by measuring the relative amounts it has been discovered that they exist in almost the exact quantities predicted by big bang theory.

Finally, nobody has yet come up with a theory that can describe the evolution of the universe with such accuracy as big bang.

You say that there was "no such thing" as the big bang, yet you offer no explanation as to how the universe arrived at its present state, other than a vague mention of God. If you believe that God created everything in the universe in 7 days there's not a lot of point in discussing the subject further. A belief is a belief, and I'm not about to question yours.

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rdave13

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Wow.. re-read my previous post. Big bang starts from a smaller what? BB needs to expand from something suerly? You can not start a theory from stating something called a 'Big Bang' started from something "therefore it must have been smaller in the past" without knowing what this "smaller" something was. What a load of cobblers.

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OTT_B

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rdave13: not understanding something is not the same as it being wrong.

Do we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the big bang happened? No, of course not. But the predicted remnants of it are being detected, and so far the pieces of the puzzle are falling nicely into place to complete and prove the theory. Some elements of the big bang theory will fall by the wayside, only to be replaced by new facets. But that is the nature of what starts as theoretical physics, and ends in repeatable experiment.

"Big bang starts from a smaller what?"

That's an easy one to answer.....but only because there is no definitive answer. The laws of physics as we know them didn't start until after the big bang had occurred (physics in the universe now would preclude being able to have the entire mass of the universe in a pretty well infinitely small package, keeping in mind the laws of energy conservation).

But there's another point in there; 'the laws of physics as we know them' We don't know them all, and they're not always even right when we think we do - Newton's inverse square law being a prime example. It's a case of close but no cigar, but the theory was disproved well before a replacement theory was touted by Einstein, several hundred years later.

And there's the point. You can just as easily disprove a theory by experiment and observation as you can prove it. The Big Bang Theory may not be water tight, but experiment and observation are backing it up pretty well so far.

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rdave13

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OTT_B

Backing up well so far? How so when we know the "universe is expanding"?

The problem lies with my down to earth logic. The universe is expanding, where does it start from? and why is it expanding? Can we tell it is expanding or is the universe itself in an orbit?

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OTT_B

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"The problem lies with my down to earth logic"

Yes, you are correct. That is exactly where the problem lies!

"Where is it expanding from?" No where. The universe does not have a central point.

"Why is it expanding?" Need to re-read a couple of books to answer that....bear with me!

"Can we tell it is expanding or is the universe itself in an orbit?"

Yes we can tell it is expanding. That has already been covered.

"Is the universe itself in an orbit?" What has that got to do with anything?

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Forum Editor

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rdave13

On the one hand you say that the big bang theory is "a load of cobblers", and then go on to ask all kinds of questions that tend to confirm that you don't understand the basics. That isn't an implied criticism, because even the basics of big bang theory involve some complex concepts.

The universe is expanding, where does it start from?

From a singularity - a point in space that contained all the matter in the universe in an infinitely dense state.

Why is it expanding?

Because the big bang was just that - an explosion of unimaginable proportions that started an expansion which is still going on.

Can we tell it is expanding or is the universe itself in an orbit?

Yes, we can. Important work on this has been carried out using the Hubble telescope and some complicated technologies. This work has shown beyond any doubt that the universe is expanding, and that in fact the rate of expansion is accelerating.

Schoolboy physics tells you that if a group of objects are moving apart they must at some point have been closer together, and in the case of the universe that simple concept taken to its ultimate conclusion tells us that all the matter in the universe must originally have come from a single point - the infinitely dense, hot singularity from which the universe was created. The best estimate for the time of origin is that it happened 13.7 billion years ago, before which time did not exist.

As for orbiting - orbiting what? There's is no evidence to suggest that the entire universe is orbiting anything.

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rdave13

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This is fascinating stuff. We're trying to make sense of something we don't really understand I think. This vast universe is expanding, they say, but where is the 'room' for this vast expanse to expand too and what is it?

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