Thursday, August 8, 2013

Traveling across the universe without falling off the edge!


The universe is a strange place. It is a space-time structure, which, because of gravity, may fold back upon itself. We can only see a portion of it called the Observable Universe, which has a radius of about 47 billion miles. And, it is universally agreed that it is much larger than that and most scientists believe that it is in fact infinite!
Hmm…wait a minute…the latest estimates I’m aware of place it’s age at 13.7 billion years old so how could we have a visible diameter of 94 billion? As I said, a strange place. Obviously, although matter cannot accelerate past the speed of light, the universe can expand faster than the speed of light. As for how can we see objects 47 billion light years away--this is because the universe was expanding while that light was traveling toward us (I know…but you’ll need Google to get further explanations on this one).
New discoveries indicate that the universe may not be infinite but finite and in my four part sci-fi series, The Spiral Slayers, it is finite. So could we ever reach the universe’s edge and, if we could, what would it look like and what would be beyond it?

Both in reality (if it is finite) and in the Spiral Slayers’ universe, the answer to these questions are both ‘no’ and ‘maybe’.
The ‘no’ part of this is that space-time, as I have already pointed out, folds back upon itself because of gravity and, we are part of space time and simply can’t remove ourselves from it. Long before we came anywhere close to the universe’s edge, space time would bend both our view and path away from it and we could never reach it.

The maybe part is that perhaps we can see the edge of the universe or at least a portion of it every time we look at a black hole. This edge might be the event horizon or it may be the singularity itself. In my story it’s the latter.
As for what we'd find beyond the universe, we don't know and, in my story and probably in reality as well, anything outside the universe is unknowable. However, if a singularity is the edge then we can see the effects from outside and those indicate that a unistate (AKA a singularity) exists beyond the edge.
Here is a very interesting documentary on this subject—it’s a bit long but really worth watching!
In the next post we’ll talk about probably one of the more controversially elements of my story; traveling between galactic super clusters and across the Observably Universe while observing light’s speed limit.
Rusty Williamson

No comments:

Post a Comment