Here's my crack at your question. With my near-ametuer-hobbyist's understanding of things, I'll surely be corrected down the line. It's a learning
experience for all! Yaaaaaa!
Short Answer: No
Long Answer (Really ask yourself if you want to know
Imagine yourself in a wide open corn field. Run from one end to the other. Run back again. What's it like? It's just a flat field. Some dirt, some
corn husks around, but it's certainly flat, you're sure of that. Well, not really, actually. The field is actually curved, and is part of the sphere
of water and dirt known as Earth.
Okay, hop into the space ship that's on the far end of the field. Blast off, and throttle up to say, 52 billion light years per hour. That should get
you to the end of the universe fast enough, right?
Okay, buckle up. You're going, you're going, you're going, and you havn't reached the end of the universe. The rocket is designed to go in an
astronomically perfect straight line, so this should be no problem. All of a sudden, though, you wind up back in the field, exactly where you
What you jsut tried to do was reach the end of the observable universe. The problem is that the oberservable universe is so massive and has such a
huge gravitational pull to it, that it bends back on itself. Your straight line in the rocket is akin to a straight piece of wire. The only thing is
that your wire (Space) was curved in
on itself because of gravity that the "wire" formed a perfect circle.
Another analogy is the old "Ant on the edge of a balloon". No matter where the ant walks on the tip of the balloon, it will never reach an edge.
Now, observable universe? What?
The Universe: Still boggling the minds of 'Finite
The "observable universe," Sweitzer explained, "is the one astrophysicists generally talk about because it's the one open to empirical
measurements. In fact it's the only one we can or ever will be able to talk with any certainty about."
He goes on to explain that "universe" (sans the word "observable") is a larger concept that scientists think "conforms to our laws of physics and
all the assumptions that go with them." Comprehending this universe, Sweitzer said, "requires a leap of faith into unobservable realms."
Finally, there is "the Universe," which, by virtue of its capital "U," includes "absolutely everything, even possibilities of dimensions, modes
and regions that obey laws of physics we don't know or maybe even can't know."
Okay, that explains the to, or lack thereof, the end of the universe.
Now, concerning the edge of the universe.
you know that game boggle, where you put all the letter cubes in a container and shake them up untill they settle back into place? No? Well, that's
what's gonna happen to yuor thinking bone.
There is no edge. Accept it. There is no edge of our universe.
Okay, let's do this.
We're going back to the ant analogy. You are the ant. Look in all directions. Can you see an edge? No. You CAN see a horizon, however. You cannot see
to the very end of the horizon, though, because of a type of haze. In astrological terms, this is the
at the edge of our own universe. This is the area where
everything becomes sort of mushed together. Gasses fill the vacum, planets and solar systems are just being born.
So you have a horizon on all sides that you can't quite make out. This is the so called edge of our universe, but we're not done yet.
That "horizon" is in every direction around you. Look up, there's another "Balloon Surface" with a horizon you can barely make out. Look down,
look to your left. The amount of "surfaces", "Horizons", and "Directions" are as infinite as Pi. This is the most difficult concept to accept,
as humans (being born on Earth) are used to a single plane, being the surface.
So there's my take on it. The universe is infinite in that it has no edge. It is finite in that the edge which doesn't really exist is expanding
into "Something" (Think of a bubble which is underwater and doesn't rise. There's no containing edge, only an area which is water and one which is
oxygen). As for what the universe is expanding into?
"Once you accept the fact that the universe is something expanding into nothing, wearing plaid pants doesn't seem so bad"