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Space expansion in our perspective? 
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#1
Jun810, 11:39 PM

P: 25

So if space is expanding everywhere, does this mean the space in my room is expanding?
I'm assuming that its expanding so slow because of the small scale, but is there still a measurable amount of space expansion occurring in my room in any time interval? If i were to wait a few billion years, would the space in my room be noticeably bigger or would i be expanding at the same rate and not notice a difference? P.S. (I like explanations and details.) Thx :) 


#2
Jun910, 04:22 AM

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P: 1,910

There is observational evidence that galaxy clusters are moving away from each other. They do so with a velocity proportional to their distance. One can choose an expanding coordinate system such that all those comoving clusters have constant coordinate values. Since they all are in relative motion, their proper distance increases nonetheless. This increase of distance while keeping constant coordinate positions is dubbed "Space expansion". If you'd use a different coordinate system, you would call the same thing "velocity". The walls of your room are not comoving. They are where they are, without relative motion. The distance between them is not increasing. In the expanding space paradigm, you'd say they have a inward peculiar velocity that cancels the expansion. That's just a complicated way to say that they don't move. 


#3
Jun910, 10:26 AM

P: 44

Our planet will remain the same size. So will our galaxy. It is the space between galaxies that are expanding.
cheers, BT 


#4
Jun910, 03:08 PM

P: 25

Space expansion in our perspective?



#5
Jun910, 04:00 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 1,910

In expanding coordinates, one often says that comoving things are not moving, that the increasing distance is due to expansion of space. Peculiar velocity is what's left when you subtract that part. It's everything that does not behave exactly like a homogeneous expanding universe.
So things without relative motion (zero change in distance), like the walls of your room, would be described in a funny way: you subtract the supposed motion due to expansion from zero, and are left with a negative value. You call that an inward peculiar motion. This kind of description is matematically well defined, and it's useful for modeling the universe. But it's a real nuisance if applied to things that are simply not expanding, it makes you think all kind of weird stuff is going on, when simply those things have no relative velocity. 


#6
Jun910, 09:07 PM

P: 217

Isnt the answer simply that atoms and objects are bound together by force?



#7
Jun910, 09:46 PM

P: 15,319

This is how I illustrate it:
The expanding universe is an expanding balloon. Galaxies are shown as pennies glued all over the balloon. As the balloon expands, the distance between the pennies increase, yet the pennies do not increase in size. Why? Because the forces holding the atoms of the penny together utterly dwarf the forces of the balloon pulling it apart. 


#8
Jun1010, 01:47 AM

P: 25

Thanks for the great replies. :)
So the space in my room is expanding, however the 4 fundamental forces can resist the force of expansion. Galaxies that are far enough apart don't have the required gravitational force to resist the expansion and therefore are accelerating apart. Is this correct thinking? 


#9
Jun1010, 03:41 AM

Sci Advisor
P: 1,910

There is no physical property of empty space called expansion. Expanding space is locally exactly the same as nonexpanding space. The difference is in the description, not in space. If the walls of your room don't have relative velocity (which I hope is true), they are not expanding. That's it. There's no force needed to prevent "expansion". There may be air in your room, or dark matter, or dark energy. Those things gravitate and would attract or repulse the walls. To withstand this attraction or repulsion, the wall must exert a minuscule force. But it doesn't matter whether the universe is expanding or not. 


#10
Jun1010, 10:52 AM

P: 302

Where does relative velocity enter the realm of space expansion? Our best guess is that dark energy has something to do with the possible negative energy density of the universe. The acceleration of galaxies away from us is interpreted as the effect of this negative energy density force overcoming the attractive force of gravity. 


#11
Jun1010, 12:29 PM

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#12
Jun1010, 01:27 PM

P: 302




#13
Jun1010, 03:55 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 1,910

Spacetime can be curved, and this curvature can be measured locally. Spacetime curvature is not expansion. Flat, empty space may be "expanding". It's just a matter of the coordinates you use. You will encounter people that tell you "they are not actually moving, it's rather space expanding" or so. Ask them how they can tell expansion from motion. If there's a galaxy some 100 MLy away, what measurement establishes that this galaxy is not moving away? They are actually moving away from us, and that motion is called expansion. 


#14
Jun1010, 04:17 PM

P: 3,043

This link might help understand what Ich is saying or at least clarifies this confusion that has affected not only lay people but experts too (BTW I found the link in this forum)
http://arxiv.org/abs/0803.2701 


#15
Jun1010, 04:19 PM

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#16
Jun1010, 05:03 PM

P: 302

I believe we must all recognize we are discussing the interpretation of observation. I put no such onus on myself, I merely contend that we cannot simply dismiss such concepts as "the fabric of spacetime". The onus is in fact on you to disprove it, as you are the one who claims it misbegotten.
Yes, galaxies are receding from us. It is the idea that they are receding at an ever faster pace that requires further analysis. If I throw a baseball in space, it recedes away from me at a constant velocity. The galaxies, as of what I last heard, are accelerating away. The acceleration is why, it would seem to me, you cannot simply say that expanding space is the same as nonexpanding space. Maybe locally they are too similar to discern from one another, but the very idea of expansion implies more than a constant velocity of recession. And this is where the possibility of DE comes in. Different interpretations are always out there. 


#17
Jun1010, 05:08 PM

P: 15,319

So, my question then becomes "What do you mean when you talk about this 'fabric of space'? Can you please point me to some literature where this model is used in anything but an analagous way?" 


#18
Jun1010, 05:21 PM

P: 302




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