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What happened to the center of the universe?

  1. Jan 15, 2012 #1

    Greylorn

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    Most posters on the subject of the center of the universe seem to believe that there is none.

    If the universe is indeed the consequence of a "singularity" or cosmic micro-pea that blew up about 14 billion years ago, the singularity or micropea once represented the center of what was. Is there any reason to believe that this center point was not also the center of what it became, say, a microsecond after the bang? How about a full second later?

    Carry this question forward in time, then, and ask when the center that once was a center of the universe, disappeared? Next, how did that happen? And where did the center go?

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2012 #2
    The center didn't go anywhere. It's right here. Everywhere. Always has been.
     
  4. Jan 16, 2012 #3
    Instead of thinking of "big bang", an expression used to discredit, as time equal to zero make it more in line with the math. "Einstein's calendar" makes it easier to for me to visualize, the first calendar that looks back in time and not just forward. The singularity is where the calendar breaks down to less than a single clock can count, relative to our shared present.
     
  5. Jan 16, 2012 #4

    Chronos

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    Where is the center of the egg you tried to soft boil in the microwave - everywhere! ps: dont try this at home, your wife will not be amused.
     
  6. Jan 16, 2012 #5
    Big bang did not happen at a single point. It happened everywhere. Anywhere you go, you are at the center of your observable universe.
     
  7. Jan 16, 2012 #6

    Drakkith

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    True, but the Observable Universe is not what is being questioned here, it is the WHOLE universe.

    Greylorn, even at the point of the Big Bang it is thought that the universe was infinite in size. So no matter how closely everything gets packed together, you can still go in one direction forever. And no matter where you would go, all of it would be densely packed. It is from this kind of state that the Big Bang occurred. If you could zoom around at t=0 and watch as the Universe expanded you would simply notice all of space around you becoming less and less dense over time. If I were 10 billion light years from you at this point in time I would simply notice the same thing as well, that space around me was becoming less and less dense. There isn't an "explosion" in one point as many people believe.
     
  8. Jan 16, 2012 #7
    Perhaps a definition of terms will help avoid equivocation?


     
  9. Jan 16, 2012 #8

    Chronos

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    It is still not known if the universe is finite of infinite. If it is infinite, problem solved. There is not and never was a center to an infinite universe. There are, however, certain paradoxes that arise with the notion of an infinite universe. On being that it must include an infinite number of particles, photons and other stuff. Another issue is how can an infinite universe not be infinitely old. These issues might be explicable individually, but, put them together and you get things like Olber's Paradox. So the question reverts back to doesn't a finite [both temporally and spatially] universe have a center. The conventional answer is the universe is finite, but, unbounded. This creates a great deal of head banging. It's almost incomprensible that something finite has no 'edges'. This is where geometry comes to the rescue. If you imagine the universe as a 3D mobius strip, problem solved. If you walk far enough in any direction you will inevitably wind up right back where you started [after a very, very long time]. Of course there is no way you will never know because everything is moving and evolving while you are taking your stroll around the universe. Astronomers are keenly interested in this idea and have squandered [thus far] a lot of valuable telescope time looking for evidence of this wrap around effect. It is probably futile for the same reason you will never know you have completed a lap around the universe. We very well could be seeing dopplegangers of distant galaxies, but, they are all at different ages due to the finite speed of light. If the entire universe is significantly larger than the observable part [as current evidence suggests] we have little chance of being able 'see' a wrap around effect. Of course it is always possible [albeit hugely unlikely] we really are at the 'center' of the universe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  10. Jan 17, 2012 #9

    Greylorn

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    Drakkith---
    Take an honest look at your first line, "...even at the point of the Big Bang it is thought that the universe was infinite in size. "

    Who exactly is responsible for this so-called thought? How is it that Big Bang believers get to hypothesize the existence of a physical singularity in the first place, a tiny little micropea which cannot exist under any known principles of physics, and then have the audacity to declare that they can get inside this tiny thing and declare that from such a perspective, it is infinite?

    Is this thought, or another believer making up whatever nonsense is necessary to support his belief system?

    I cannot zoom around inside this fictitious singularity at t0, and neither can you. Is this a physics forum where one can ask a challenging question and perhaps find answers based upon experiments or solid mathematical theory, or a religious forum where fools can make up whatever they want, so long at it supports the current dogma?

    I am struck by the religious nature of this, and most of the other posts to this thread. I find no honest intelligence here, and certainly no physics--- just a lot of made up nonsense to support what is essentially a dogmatic position--- a belief in the Big Bang despite logical impediments.

    I could get essentially the same dogmatic quality of replies by asking, "What happened to the God of Abraham?" on a Christian forum.
     
  11. Jan 17, 2012 #10

    Drakkith

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    If the universe is infinite in size, it has always been infinite in size, no matter how dense it was in the past. If it was not infinite in size then it can still be unbound but finite. This has nothing to do with a singularity, so I don't know how you came to that conclusion. In fact, it isn't really believed that there was a singularity, but that our current models simply don't work that far back because we don't know enough yet.

    The key here is that there is NO model in mainstream science that describes the "Big Bang" itself. However, it is extremely common for people to say that the Big Bang was a singularity of infinite density and such. This is unfortunate, as we simply don't know what the conditions were exactly like or how the different forces interact at those energy levels. We can make educated guesses but those only go so far.

    Furthermore, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what the Big Bang means. The term "Big Bang" was coined by an opponent of the theory when it was first presented. This theory simply said that the universe was once in a very hot, very dense state and has expanded since then. There was NOT an explosion in space like you are probably thinking of.

    From wikipedia: There is little evidence regarding the absolute earliest instant of the expansion. Thus, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the universe going forward from that point on.

    Read the article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_bang

    This is a forum for civilized discussion, not pointless name calling. I suggest you change your attitude. Anyways, this is easily fixed by make t equal to any point after 0.

    The problem here is that you asked a very common question, and we answered like we do with most people. With a non-mathematical non-detailed description. Apparently you are not satisified with that answer. That is perfectly ok, there is much more detail in the real model that others are much more capable of answering. However this involves understanding fairly advanced math which may or may not be within your current capability. There is overwhelming support for the current model of the universe based on observations, the theory isn't simply made up on a whim. That is not how science works.

    You can see for yourself some of the evidence for the Big Bang here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang#Observational_evidence

    These include the expansion of space, the cosmic microwave background radiation, the specific ratio of primeval elements, and more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  12. Jan 17, 2012 #11
    I think you'll find that what most posters understand - rather than believe - is that, contrary to their being no center, the whole universe was the center of the big bang.
     
  13. Jan 17, 2012 #12

    Drakkith

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    If an event happens everywhere, can there even be a center? Personally I prefer to say there was no center.
     
  14. Jan 17, 2012 #13
    There's probably no actual distinction. They're both true... from a certain point of view =D

    Not only am I not above pop culture references, I'm also prone to imagining the beginning of the universe; specifically as a single action that carried the entire pent up force of the suspected singularity. This would seem to be the opposite extreme of entropy and the closest we might come to a center. An epi-center of sorts.
     
  15. Jan 17, 2012 #14

    Drakkith

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    Understandable. I agree that either way of looking at it is probably ok.

    However, I have to point out that, according to my knowledge, there probably wasn't an actual singularity, and it definitely wasn't at a single point in space.
     
  16. Jan 17, 2012 #15
    That's a tricky one. I view it as all of space being compressed down to the same tiny point as the energy, all curled up on itself, the energy evenly spread, yet in a tiny, tiny area. Or did you mean you are in favour of the big bounce idea where it never quite collapses?
     
  17. Jan 17, 2012 #16

    Drakkith

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    That depends on if the universe is infinite or finite. If it is infinite then it cannot occupy at small finite area. Instead you would have an infinite universe that is extremely dense and hot.

    If the universe if finite, but without bound, meaning you can go in one direction and eventually you will "come around" back to your starting point, then I think it is possible for the size to be extremely small, but I don't know about being infinitely small.
     
  18. Jan 17, 2012 #17
    Yes.

    That's my safe answer. =D

    Both possibilities introduce major, unanswerable questions. I've yet to settle on anything more concrete than to say the existence of the universe is highly suspicious. That the fact it's here at all is rather odd. I know it's flippant, but it's honest.
     
  19. Jan 17, 2012 #18

    Drakkith

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    I think I might exist, therefore my existance is possible.
     
  20. Jan 27, 2012 #19

    Chronos

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    Einstein was a closet disciple of the Newtonian concept of time, despite his elegant proof time is not absolute.
     
  21. Jan 27, 2012 #20
    Absolute time can be restored by accepting that time dilation is actually a physical effect whereby any material object can no longer function at the same rate in high gravity or velocity. An example might be a pendulum clock travelling near light speed such that the pendulum's swing is parallel to the direction of travel. You reach a point in the pendulum's swing where to move forward in the direction of travel would require either infinite energy or the ability to exceed light speed.

    As such, in deep space, at 0 velocity and with negligable gravity, any clock should measure an absolute maximum of the rate of time against which one might measure all other events.

    Alternatively, if time passes more quickly as space stretches, there may be no upper limit to the passing of time.

    Take your pick. I haven't. =D
     
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