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Is there an edge of the universe?

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posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 02:46 PM
Is it possible to have an end to the universe? If you kept flying in a rocket in a straight line you would'nt exactly hit a brick wall at the end and if you did whats behind the brick wall????????
Thoughts please.

Mod Edit: Removed "??????" from the title

[edit on 1-2-2006 by ZeddicusZulZorander]

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 03:56 PM
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.
Duh, right?
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 started.
Like, wtf?
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 "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."

The Universe: Still boggling the minds of 'Finite Creatures'

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 Cosmic Radiation 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"
-Albert Einstein

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 04:08 PM
i saw a document where they said the universe isn't curved like how u said in the first parts of ur post it'd be. there isn't enough mass to curve it like that, but this is just speculation i guess. if that were the case the universe would continue to expand.

i don't really think we have an answer to this question though..

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 04:22 PM

Originally posted by eben1
i don't really think we have an answer to this question though..

Mmm, precisely. I should have put a little not before I went into that spiel. After thousand of years here, man is still just making best guesses to the biggest questions, the questions that we believe can't be known. But just like we believed the winds were caused by spirits or gods or four old men blowing on the sides of the earth, one day we'll hit the nail on the head when it comes to the universe.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 05:02 PM
Glad to see that I didn't have to step in here
Good job Dr. Funk! That's almost precisely what I would have said!

As for the ant and balloon example, it's also the reason why some parts of the universe seem to be expanding faster than light - because in a universe without a 3-dimensional "edge", without a center, no galaxy appears (to itself) to be moving - and all other galaxies are moving far away from it.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 05:48 PM
Find this talk interesting. Someone had a similar one going a bit ago that touched on this somewhat.

If you're interested.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:23 PM
I don't think that man will ever know if the universe has an edge. Nor do I think we were meant to know.

Humans are smart, but not that smart. I think it will puzzle mankind until the end of time.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:30 PM
Well, in my opinion, you could not reach the edge of the universe, because there is no edge, and I'm not saying it's like the curved universe thing, what I mean is that the universe is infinitly(I know I'm spelling that wrong) large, you could'nt reach the edge, because it keeps going
on and on ad infinitum.
So yeah, that's what I figure atleast.

[edit on 1/31/2006 by iori_komei]

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:47 PM
You can find the edge of the universe where Two Super wal-marts are placed on opposite sides of the street of eachother. So if you find it, thats the edge of the universe.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:48 PM
if the universe was/is curved then is it not the case that you could escape it by hitting the escape velocity??

ok i know this would be a stupid amount of force to manage it prob more than can ever be produced but was just a thought....

on the out side of the universe what is scientists thoughts on this?

other universe?
Heaven (Not a believe but you never know lol)?
pure nothing?
Would we even exsist?

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 06:51 PM
According to some scientists, whats outside the universe is the multiverse with an infinent(SP?) amount of other universes.
This is also something I personally think to be true.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 07:18 PM
Well, as stated, the universe curves in on itself. Not in the traditional sense though. It's a 4-dimensional curvature... the same way that space curves to create the illusion of gravity, so to does the universe curve to create the illusion of infinite.

No, reaching escape velocity does not put you outside the universe - since you'd be travelling extremely fast 3-dimensionally.

Basically, the universe is the surface of a ball. Outside the universe is the space outside and inside the ball. This could also just be time. So outside the universe is the future, and inside the universe is the past. The only true center of the universe is the Big Bang, and there is no true "outside" to the universe - and thus infinite potential.

Or, if you really want to go into it.

There are even more than 4-dimension. The 4-th dimension that we associate with space-time has other parts to it. All three of the 3 physical dimensions we take for granted, translated into 4-dimensional equivilants.

This creates a near, or actually, infinite number of other universes that stack up upon each other (more or less overlapping each-other in the same 3-dimensional space, but not in the same 4-dimension space - like I can have 2 sheets of paper occupying the same 2-dimensional space, but not the same 3-dimensional space). These other universes probably have slight differences to our own, and the further one moves away 4-dimensionally from our universe, the more different they get.

Differences can range from an electron popping into existance on the left side of an atom instead of the right, a person turning right instead of left, a democratic Hitler winning against the fascist Americans, or even different elemant forces having different strengths.

But as you can see, this isn't even "outside" the universe, as even these universes would curve back into each other.

What's outside the universe? Nothing. More utter nothing than you can imagine.

You may go "Well, I imagine a big glowing balloon in a vast darkness". Not even that works - since there is not big glowing balloon, and there is no vast darkness. In fact, there is no "Where" outside the universe. Physical dimension doesn't even exist.

In all truth, if you were go outside the universe, and let's say that light exited our universe (which it doesn't), all you would see would be an infinitely small speck of light. Since, without dimensions, there is no where for the universe to exist in. Now add in the part on how light doesn't leave the universe, and if you left the universe and looked back, you wouldn't see anything.

Now remember that there's no "where" for you to exist in either. Sorry, but you don't exist anymore. Either that, or your spatial dimensions are their own seperate universe. Of course, you can't see outside of that universe, and so you either would see absolute darkness, or you would see yourself (assuming you brought a light with you, and you shone it). These other "you's" could even be interacted with, but they would be perfect mimes. Also, they'd be pressed right against you everywhere... so there isn't much room, unless you brought a good batch of air with you.

So as you can see, physics is pretty much destroyed when you leave the universe. This is why I believe in God. For us to even exist in a universe which, for all purposes, apparently doesn't exist... it's just too amazing to conceive of how anything like this could exist without some sort of proginator. Note, this is not to say God is all-powerful, omnipotent, or controls us or should be held responsible for things... but that, like a being that hits the first domino, it exists.

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 09:42 PM
Maybe depends on what you believe in. The string theory united with 11 parallel universes existing in the 12th universe suggest that this universe were we are located does indeed have an end. Theory states that big bangs are the results of 2 membranes colliding.

However this is just a theory to an answer that we might never have... Probably were too insignificant to understand it anyway...

posted on Jan, 31 2006 @ 11:22 PM
The universe begins with a cataclysm that generates space and time, as well as all the matter and energy the universe will ever hold. For an incomprehensibly small fraction of a second, the universe is an infinitely dense, hot fireball. Energy that can suddenly push out the fabric of space. On a rare occasion, a runaway process called Inflation can cause a vast expansion of space filled with this energy. The inflationary expansion is stopped only when this energy is transformed into matter and energy as we know it. After inflation, one millionth of a second after the Big Bang, the universe continues to expand but not nearly so quickly. As it expands, it becomes less dense and cools. The most basic forces in nature become distinct: first gravity, then the strong force, which holds nuclei of atoms together, followed by the weak and electromagnetic forces. By the first second, the universe is made up of fundamental particles and energy: quarks, electrons, photons, neutrinos and less familiar types. These particles smash together to form protons and neutrons.
Protons and neutrons come together to form the nuclei of simple elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. It will take another 300,000 years for electrons to be captured into orbits around these nuclei to form stable atoms.
The first major era in the history of the universe is one in which most of the energy is in the form of radiation -- different wavelengths of light, X rays, radio waves and ultraviolet rays. This energy is the remnant of the primordial fireball, and as the universe expands, the waves of radiation are stretched and diluted until today, they make up the faint glow of microwaves which bathe the entire universe.
You can find a microwave image of the universe

Astronomers assume that the universe will gradually wither away, provided it keeps on expanding and does not recollapse under the pull of its own gravity. During the Stelliferous Era, from 10,000 years to 100 trillion years after the Big Bang, most of the energy generated by the universe is in the form of stars burning hydrogen and other elements in their cores.
The Degenerate Era
In 100 Trillion Years in the Future
This era extends to Ten Trillion Trillion Trillion years after the Big Bang. Most of the mass that we can currently see in the universe is locked up in degenerate stars, those that have blown up and collapsed into black holes and neutron stars, or have withered into white dwarfs. Energy in this era is generated through proton decay and particle annihilation.
The Black Hole Era
10 to the 100th power Years in the Future
Ten Thousand Trillion Trillion Trillion Trillion Trillion Trillion Trillion Trillion years after the Big Bang. After the epoch of proton decay, the only stellar-like objects remaining are black holes of widely disparate masses, which are actively evaporating during this era. and 10 times more At this late time, protons have decayed and black holes have evaporated.Only the waste products from these processes remain: mostly photons of colossal wavelength, neutrinos, electrons, and positrons. For all intents and purposes, the universe as we know it has dissipated.
So in short the universe will continue to grow forever. but what is intresting to me is what caused the big bang. a tiny speck of ??? just takeing up a tiny speck of emptyness in an infinite amount of nothing... yet something caused it to become unstable and expand into what we know as our universe..., but what caused it to become unstable and explode?
my theory is a piece of a universe similar to our own, long after its death
moves farther from its origination point, and collides with the tiny spec which all our own universe evolved. the collision could be a photon,neutriono, electron,or positron
this has probably been going on forever and will continue forever.
which makes you wonder. are we actually insignificant, i personally think so.
even if we get all the technology that could ever be created, we still could not find out what it all means..we could never see the big picture due to the fact we are infinitly small in the outer universes eyes. its so enormus we could never see the end to an endless outer whats the point, the point is humans have to have something to make them feel like there special, when in fact we are not If the timeline of the universe was a 100 year calander we would have been alive for 1 millionth of a second in that 100 year calander, and at the rate humanity is headed, we will have existed 1.000005 millionths of a second before humanity is wiped out
The univeres will not even know we existed....thats what we are

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