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Chalnoth
#43
Jan17-11, 12:13 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 4,802
Quote Quote by chivasregal View Post
It might just be me that is a complete idiot, but is it not widely accepted that the speed of light is the ultimate speed at which anything can travel? And also that the speed of which light travels is not influenced in relation to movement of the object producing the light?

If this is the case I don't see why the expansion of the universe has anything to do with the fact that stars do not cover the sky entirely at night (presuming the universe is indeed infinite).
Olbers' Paradox applies to a universe that is infinite and unchanging in both time and space. In such a universe, no matter where you looked, in every direction there would eventually be a star. Thus everything would be the same temperature as the surface of a star.

You can solve this paradox in three ways:
1. Allow the universe to be finite in time. In such a universe, light wouldn't have had time to come from every location in the universe yet, as you mention.
2. Allow the universe to be finite in space. In such a universe, obviously not all directions would necessarily point to some star or other, since there would be a finite number of them.
3. Allow the universe to expand with time. In such a universe, the light from further-away stars is redshifted more, such that the temperature of the night sky is only affected by the most nearby stars, which are also finite in number.