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B Shape of the universe

  1. Dec 29, 2017 #1

    wolram

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    This may be a silly question, but how do we give a shape to the universe if it is The same from every point we look?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2017 #2
    We dont give a shape.

    We can make an argument that universe looks the same at larger scales (you can further search cosmological principle). This argument reduces the possible geomtries that universe can have.

    1-Flat with zero curvature
    2-Spherical geometry with positive curvature
    3-Hyperbolic geometry with negative curvature

    From observation we can conclude or derive the geometry of universe.

    Recent data (Plank 2015 results or etc) shows that universe is flat and has zero curvature.

    It may have another shape like a torus maybe but even in that case the size of torus must be huge cause obersvable universe seems flat over a large scale.
     
  4. Dec 29, 2017 #3

    PeroK

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    You could ask the same about the surface of the Earth, assuming it were ideally spherical. Its curvature can be defined by its being a 2D surface embedded in 3D space: i.e. it's the surface of a 3D sphere.

    Or, its shape can be defined using differential geometry to define the infinitesimal distance in any direction. Using spherical polar coordinates this is:

    ##dS^2 = R^2(d\theta^2 + \sin^2 \theta d\phi^2)##, where ##0 \le \phi < 2\pi## and ##0 \le \theta \le \pi##, and ##R## is some parameter, which equates to the radius of the 3D sphere above.

    This "line element", in fact, encapsulates the shape of the sphere's surface without directly appealing to an embedding in a higher dimension.

    Note that this is the distance along the surface, not taking any shortcuts through the body of the Earth!
     
  5. Dec 29, 2017 #4

    wolram

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    I get the analogy of the Earth, but as regards to the universe what does flat mean, surly due to gravity and dark matter the universe must be globular, but how can that be flat?
     
  6. Dec 29, 2017 #5

    PeroK

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    It's flat on a large scale. But, locally, where there are galaxies, black holes or simply where there are stars or planets you have locally curved spacetime.
     
  7. Dec 29, 2017 #6
    Why it would be globular ? And how can it be globular and flat at the same time ?

    There's something you should mention, are you talking about the universe or observable universe.

    We cant now the geometry of the universe, (since we cant travel or observe the whole universe etc), but we can claim that observable universe is flat. Becasue that is what we observe (by experiment and measurement)

    The universe can have a spherical geomtery or it can be just flat as ours, but If its sphere the R (radius of the sphere) must be so huge that, we observe, the observable universe as flat.

    Mathematically it means that curvature is zero, In example a plane is a flat becasue, when you set a triangle, and you measure the angles it gives you ##π##. But in spherical geometry it gives you more then ##π##.

    Of course in metric terms it would be more different

    Try to think that you are a small ant, and you are travelling on a piece of paper. Wherever you walk or go it feels like you are on a flat surface and when you draw a triagle and measure the angles you get ##π##. Observable universe is a piece of paper and you are an ant.

    If we were bigger then ant, then we could have notice the curvature, but since we are not, we cannot know the real geometry of the universe.

    (thats why our ancestors thought that earth is flat in the first place casue it was hard to observe that earth is spherical, in our case we cannot observe or dont have tools to see the real geometry of the universe, we are more like a bacteria respect to the universe)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  8. Dec 29, 2017 #7

    phinds

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    But if the universe were a sphere, that would clearly imply a preferred direction and there is zero evidence of such a thing.
     
  9. Dec 29, 2017 #8

    PeterDonis

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    It means spatially flat: a spacelike slice of constant time for a comoving observer is Euclidean 3-space.
     
  10. Dec 29, 2017 #9

    PeterDonis

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    No, it woudn't; there is no preferred direction in a 3-sphere. A 3-sphere is spatially isotropic.

    You might be confusing this with the case of a spherically symmetric, but not homogeneous, spacetime such as Schwarzschild spacetime. In this case, yes, the radial direction is different from the tangential directions. But that's due to the fact that there is a mass at the center, but not anywhere else; i.e., the spacetime is not homogeneous. In a closed FRW universe, which has the spatial geometry of a 3-sphere, that's not the case: the density is the same everywhere, and all directions are the same
     
  11. Dec 29, 2017 #10

    wolram

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    Thank you for your replies, I can see now that when we talk about the universe having shape we only mean the observable universe
     
  12. Dec 29, 2017 #11

    phinds

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    That's not very exciting since the OU is just a sphere centered on you.
     
  13. Feb 12, 2018 #12
    Using the balloon analogy, what's inside the balloon skin? Is it the Universe from a moment ago?
     
  14. Feb 12, 2018 #13

    phinds

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    You are misunderstanding the analogy. I recommend the link in my signature.
     
  15. Feb 13, 2018 #14
    That's one of the biggest flaws of such analogies.
    Ther balloon does not represent the universe nor anything about the shape, topology or geometry of the universe. The SURFACE of the balloon 'skin', where drawings of galazy clusters might be made, represents the Relative distances between those clusters, that's about it.
     
  16. Feb 13, 2018 #15
    I find a universe centred on !e particularly exciting :)

    - a joke only.
     
  17. Mar 1, 2018 #16
    But my research shows its centered on me. :)
     
  18. Mar 10, 2018 #17
    A Play. Title: Unseen Shapes (the "balloon analogy" revisited)

    Scene 1: You are in what appears locally to be an isotropic Flatland (E²). You look around in every direction. Far away objects
    are rather dim, and you suspect that beyond your range of vision, there is more. Indeed, the gods of mathematics have
    revealed that if you could see far enough (which you cannot), you would see the same small point-like object in every direction. If these gods
    are correct, then you must live in S² (a 2-sphere, "the balloon").

    Scene 2: You are now in what appears locally to be an isotropic Solid-land (E³). You look around in every direction. Far away objects
    are again rather dim, and you suspect that beyond your range of vision, there is more. Indeed, the gods of mathematics have
    revealed that if you could see far enough (which you cannot), you would see the same small point-like object in every direction. If these gods
    are correct, then you must live in S³ (a 3-sphere).

    End of Play. Do you see any problem with its logic?

    I have read and probably understand this imbedded and related link

    https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/balloon-analogy-good-bad-ugly/

    Tom McFarland
     
  19. Mar 13, 2018 #18

    PeterDonis

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    Not as far as it goes, but in our real universe there are no "gods of mathematics" to tell us whether in fact we could see the same object in all directions if we could see far enough. And we have no evidence that we could. So we have no evidence that your play is describing our actual universe.
     
  20. Mar 14, 2018 #19
    PeterDonis:

    Sorry to post this question twice. I feared that I had posted incorrectly the first time.

    On the issue......

    Is it not true that the big bang thesis posits a point-like start to our universe which we are
    currently researching, limited by our ability to "see" before the origin of CMB. Indeed,
    Even the universe at "last scattering" (when the CMB was produced) would qualify as
    sufficiently point-like and Omni-directional to force the current shape to be close to S³, via the above logic.

    Thus, in scene 1 above, if an ideal point P is seen in all directions, you get S² for sure, but if P is merely
    very small compared to all of space (a big point, like the "last scattering" surface), this still forces the topology to be S²,
    like a balloon with your finger plugging its hole (P being your finger). The same applies to S³.
     
  21. Mar 14, 2018 #20
    Peter Donis:

    Here is another neat topological way to convince yourself that the universe must have the topology of S³.

    First, consider the universe starting with us now, extending out (and backward in time) to the surface S of last scattering (at which CMB was produced). We see this surface isotropically in all directions in microwave light. This is a 3-ball (the interior of a big 2-sphere plus boundary S). Hold this in your mind.

    Secondly, consider the postulated universe from the big bang out to the same surface of last scattering S. Currently we cannot see this region, but it would also be a 3-ball with the same boundary S as above, if the gods of mathematics are correct. Hold this in your mind.

    Now, topologically merge these two 3-balls along their common boundary S. This union is a topological 3-sphere, the universe from big bang to now.

    This merger is analogous to merging two 2-dimensional discs (like the upper and lower crusts of a pie) along their circular boundaries, to obtain a 2-sphere.
     
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