Our Universe, A SpeculationOur Universe, A Speculation
By Kenneth J. McCormick
Here I am discussing the formation of the universe again. Itís a subject that is fascinating because of all its implications. Tied deeply into this is the age of the universe. But there may be even a bigger question and that is, does age have any relevance when speaking about the universe? You may wonder why I would say something like this. It is astronomical blasphemy. Every astronomer worth his salt talks about seeing back to the beginning of the formation of the universe with telescopes and how we may someday be able to see back to the exact beginning and here I am, mister nobody, saying that they may all be wrong.
Lets look at why I am saying this. We, as mere mortals, really have no idea if the universe has formed before, or for that matter, if it has, how many times. There is a theory that states that we live in an osculating universe. That there was a big bang and matter that was blown out created the stars and galaxies along with the other bodies. It goes on to state further that someday these bodies, which it says are speeding away from each other at a great rate of speed, will begin to slow down and then they will begin to fall back in on themselves until they become one huge mass and then explode again, causing the process to start over. If this goes on over and over, does time have any relevance when we talk of the age of the universe? If this theory is correct then how could we possibly ever know how many times this expansion has occurred or the true age of the universe? The best we could hope for would be to know the time that has passed since the last big bang.
It may turn out that what we think of as the universe is only a tiny piece of a much larger object. I once saw a story on TV about a scientist finding out that we were really living in a gigantic cell in a creature that was made up of billions of these cells. Hey I know this was only a story, but you never really know. Wouldn't it be something if we reached the end of what we thought of as our universe and found another one, then another and so forth? That may not be so far fetched. If that is the case then we may not be able to tell how the universe was formed, only our little part of it.
Some scientists today believe that there was a big bang but the expansion of the universe will go on forever. Every object will speed away from the next until the universe is a dark and cold place. They think this because they believe that there is not enough matter to slow down the expansion. But most scientists believe in dark matter and they believe that most of the universe is composed of it. The theory goes on to say that it will be the dark matter that will eventually get the expansion to slow down, stop and reverse.
Astronomers believe that they have discovered ripples in space that precede any creation of matter. They state that this discovery proves that there was a big bang. Astronomers used to believe that space all had the same temperature. I am not talking about space right next to a sun but deep space. It wasn't until COBE, the Cosmic Background Explorer was launched in the 1990s that they found out that they were wrong. There were variations in temperature detected. But not all discoveries have been good for theorists. For many years scientists have believed in the red shift. Simply stated, as objects speed further away their light shifts to the red end of the spectrum. This is used to also judge their distance. Here is where the monkey wrench comes in. Recently one of the farthermost galaxies ever discovered showed up as old not young, but the further out we see, the further back in time we are looking because light takes so long to reach us. So how could this extremely distant galaxy be old? This is a good question. No one has the answer right now; I think they are still all in a state of shock. The implications are that the red shift measurements may not be accurate for every galaxy, maybe a galaxy aged extremely fast for some reason, or maybe there are old galaxies way out there
I like the idea that there may be old galaxies near, what we think is the beginning of our universe. I like it because things may turn out completely different than we thought they were. Maybe we observed the tail end of an adjourning universe and we will find more old galaxies. Another thing, who says there is a law that states that there was only one big bang in one area? I know that Einstein said that the universe was curved and if a beam of light is sent out into space that it will eventually return to the point of origin due to this curve but it does make you wonder, doesn't it? What is this barrier that won't allow you outside the curve? Why couldn't I take a spacecraft with a computer and chart a course that just keeps going straight out? I have a very hard time with this one.
Another thing that I wonder about is physics. Are the laws of physics the same throughout the universe? Maybe parts of the universe formed differently than other parts even though they look similar through a telescope. If I go onto a planet in another galaxy is it possible that gravity may work differently? I drop that apple from a tree and it travels sideways. Scientists would laugh at me for proposing this but I believe that they shouldn't be too sure of things. There is so much out there that we won't understand for a long time or maybe never. What if it turns out that the laws of nature are different in our galaxy than any of the others? That would be a shocker. We might even find life that is not carbon based.
When you think about the universe there is just so much to ponder. It truly makes you feel insignificant.
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