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Journey to the edge of the universe and beyond

  1. Sep 23, 2008 #1
    First time poster--

    I'm going to apologize up front for the long post, but I haven't found a better forum than this to ask questions in.

    I'm a writer, and I'm fascinated by the idea of "traveling to the edge of the universe" in terms of creating a science fiction story. Now, the majority of the posts I've seen on here are saying that getting to the edge is impossible because there really is no edge.

    I have several general questions...so here goes.

    1. Under what conditions would it be possible for us to reach the "edge" of the universe? i.e. a universe that is closed/open/something else, finite/infinite, etc. Possibly related, what type of universe would have an "edge"?

    2. Under what conditions would it be possible to go "beyond" the edge of the universe?

    3. Under what conditions would it be possible to enter into another universe (I'm specifically thinking of the multiverse view of the cosmos here, with our universe being but a bubble among other bubbles)?

    We're talking science fiction here, so obviously there are some assumptions built into my questions--namely, a ship that could travel MUCH faster than light; a device able to locate and home in on the "edge"; a ship able to reach another universe; etc.

    Thanks in advance! This is a great forum.


    Check out Four Stories Podcast at:
    www.fourstoriespocast.blogspot.com
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2008 #2
    Hi MonteCristo42! And welcome to PF!

    Your questions are firmly rooted in science fiction. You will find, at least in this forum, that participants are bound by the forum guidelines to stick to discussing verifiable science, and delving too far into speculation and fictional scenarios can result in the thread being locked.

    With that in mind, considering the question "What kind of universe has an edge?" I would have to say "a fictional one." As far as I know, our actual universe does not have an edge. In other words, when speaking about cosmological distances, in the tens and hundreds of billions of light years, our common conception of linear geometry does not strictly apply anymore. Given what we know about the universe and what current models tell us, you cannot "stand" or "float" at the "edge". Moving to what might seem like the "edge" from earth's perspective merely changes your frame of reference to the center of another part of the universe that is inaccessable to us due to our "puny" 14 billion light year horizon of observation.
     
  4. Sep 23, 2008 #3
    Somewhat relevant to the OP and the title of the thread is somewhat fitting. If a MOD feels this should be a new thread, by all means split it.


    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080923-dark-flows.html


    "Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space"


    As if the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy weren't vexing enough, another baffling cosmic puzzle has been discovered.

    Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can't be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon "dark flow."

    The stuff that's pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude.


    Rest of article at link above.

    Here's the relevant papers:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0809.3734
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0809.3733

    If these findings hold true, I find it amazing that we can actually measure the effects of something that is outside of our observable universe. Clearly, it's too soon to make such assertions, but the implications here could be quite interesting.

    In the interest of keeping on topic of the OP, just have your spaceship ride the Dark Flow. :smile:
     
  5. Sep 24, 2008 #4
    sysreset and derekmcd--

    Thanks for the replies! I didn't read (should have) the Forum's posting rules. Maybe if I were to put the word "FICTION" or "SPECULATIVE" in the title of the thread, then it would be more appropriate. I just don't have access to astrophysicists on a regular basis, so when I found this Forum I was very excited.

    I will check out these links you've provided.

    Thanks again!
     
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