The limits of how far humanity can go in the Universe (Synopsis)

“Even if I stumble on to the absolute truth of any aspect of the universe, I will not realise my luck and instead will spend my life trying to find flaws in this understanding – such is the role of a scientist.” -Brian Schmidt

Imagine you had arbitrarily great technology, limitless energy, and the ability to accelerate as close to the speed of light for as long as you wanted. Would you be able to reach the most distant galaxies, the leftover glow from the Big Bang or anything beyond the limit of what we can see today?

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI). The GOODS-North survey, shown here, contains some of the most distant galaxies ever observed, a great many of which are already unreachable by us. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI). The GOODS-North survey, shown here, contains some of the most distant galaxies ever observed, a great many of which are already unreachable by us.

Not only are all of those things off the table, but the farther we travel into the future, the more our presently observable Universe becomes inaccessible. In only a few tens of billions of years, even the cosmic legacy of our creation – the Big Bang – will be inaccessible to us, as well as any galaxies beyond our own at all.


I wrote a script for the Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell channel on YouTube, and the amazing video above is the wonderful result!

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Why does the narrator use the words “kind of frightening” around 2:20?

What’s to be frightened about?

Similarly, why “even more depressing” around 5:21?

Frightened, depressed.
Maybe he should blame his fright and depression on that incredibly (bad) luck mentioned at 6:39-6:56.
.............

P.S.
I spotted Ethan the fantasy creature flying at lower left at 2:55!

P.P.S.
More non-homogeneity at 3:22; 4:19-4:35.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 12 May 2016 #permalink

Let us say that we finally reach the outer limit of the universe. What should we call that on the other side of the limit?

about the big bang theory: It says that in the beginning there was nothing, then that nothing exploded and created the universe. How can NOTHING explode?

By Claud Owens (not verified) on 12 May 2016 #permalink

To Claud Owens #2:

“Let us say that we finally reach the outer limit of the universe. What should we call that on the other side of the limit?”

What you’re asking about might be the vantage point the cosmologists b.s. about when they say that the Big Bang’s universe is homogeneous and isotropic *when viewed on the LARGEST SCALES*.

That is, they say that if they look at the universe from a far enough distance then all the stars and such look evenly distributed, and from any vantage point!

The problem is that no matter how far the cosmologists might dolly back, there they still are,
and with more universe behind them.
(And it looks just as un-homogeneous and un-isotropic in the rear view mirror.)

It’s as if they think there IS an outer limit to the universe and that if they could get far enough outside that limit and then look back at the universe, why then, that universe would appear homogeneous and isotropic.

And most importantly, then the Big Bang Theory (which gives us the belief in billions of years) would be safe, would be affirmed.
…………
“about the big bang theory: It says that in the beginning there was nothing, then that nothing exploded and created the universe. How can NOTHING explode?”

Just have faith that it will, Claud.

You must have great faith to believe many of the things told here at Starts with a Bang.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 12 May 2016 #permalink

Let us say that we finally reach the outer limit of the universe. What should we call that on the other side of the limit?

That would never happen in Ethan's imaginary spaceship. What would happen, AIUI, if you kept traveling at near-c for countless billions of years, is that you would eventually find yourself in some local group of stars in the situation where you could never reach any other local group - you couldn't even see them - because the expansion is taking them away from you faster than your spaceship can travel. You can keep driving forever and the road never runs out and never ends, but you'll also never get there from here. :)

You must have great faith to believe many of the things told here at Starts with a Bang.

Well no, you just need an understanding of science and an honest desire to learn new things. You have neither.

There's another consequence of the merger of the Milky Way with Andromeda.

Assuming we solve our sustainability problems and become an interstellar civilization, we will be around to see the merger of galaxies. That will give us our first and likely only opportunity to study life on native Andromedan planets. And that will give us our best available knowledge of whether biology is convergent or divergent between galaxies.

Now let's please come up with a nicer name for our new home than "Milkomeda." We have a few billion years to do it, so it shouldn't be hard.

Clarification: our first opportunity to study life on planets that were native to another galaxy. Likely our only opportunity unless some kind of radical "new physics" provides the means for superluminal travel or communications.

Sheesh, but for an Edit button!

How can NOTHING explode?

The Big Bang Theory doesn't say the universe came from nothing. It says that if we rewind the universe to a point about 13.8 billion years ago, the entirety of the universe was very close together. There is a point though, where current physics break down, and we don't know what came before.

By Jose Pacheco (not verified) on 13 May 2016 #permalink

To Jose Pacheco #8:

“[The Big Bang Theory] says that if we rewind the universe to a point about 13.8 billion years ago, the entirety of the universe was very close together.”

You mean the 13.8 billion years which the BBT gives us, the same BBT which requires the invalid assumptions of the universe’s homogeneity and isotropy?

But here’s a question I don’t recall ever being addressed:
What does the BBT rewind say about WHERE the explosion happened?

Everything is supposedly expanding/inflating from some teeny tiny point (which lately has been reconsidered to be as large as a marble).

Where was the location of the the point from which the BB emanated?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 13 May 2016 #permalink

SN:

But here’s a question I don’t recall ever being addressed:
What does the BBT rewind say about WHERE the explosion happened?

Look around. Look up. That's where it happened. All the space you see was "where", but space itself was much more compact then. And that's why you can see the CMB in every direction..

"which requires the invalid assumptions of the universe’s homogeneity and isotropy"

The fact that you continue to ignore explanations about why that belief of yours is wrong does not equal proof that you are correct. You fail on so many levels it is impossible to keep track.

To eric #10:

Me: “What does the BBT rewind say about WHERE the explosion happened?”

You: “Look around. Look up. That’s where it happened. All the space you see was “where”, but space itself was much more compact then.”

I don’t see how, eric.
Is not the universe three dimensional? Yes it is.
Do not three dimensional things have a center, like a center of gravity? I believe they do.

So, where is our universe’s center?
Where is the center point of the expanding three dimensional universe?

P.S.
And please, no talk about the inflating balloon analogy, for which the universe is only the (two-dimensional) surface.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 13 May 2016 #permalink

It would be nice if the creationist trolls would stay out of the comment section. Scientists don't go into your church on Sunday and tell you how you're wrong. Be more smarter.

the same BBT which requires the invalid assumptions of the universe’s homogeneity and isotropy?

The Hawking–Penrose singularity theorems require neither. You're so obstinately and proudly ignorant that you can't even be bothered to understand what you're trying to argue against. This is to be expected, of course, since it's all just primitive regurgitation from creationist sites – you yourself don't think.

Is not the universe three dimensional? Yes it is.

Hi, I don't have the foggiest idea about general relativity!

Do not three dimensional things have a center, like a center of gravity?

I told yall that it was arguing for geocentrism. Anyway, no, they don't, if they don't have a boundary. How simple do you want it?

And please, no talk about the inflating balloon analogy, for which the universe is only the (two-dimensional) surface.

Why? You're merely asserting (again) that there's a viewpoint from outside the universe, which you don't have. It's amazing that you can't grasp this glaringly obvious fact.

Oh, and...

Everything is supposedly expanding/inflating from some teeny tiny point

No. 2 is wrong, and you've run away, as usual, from presenting your falsification of cosmological redshifts implied by No. 1. Such is the life of an intellectual coward.

To eric,

No response?

Maybe you’re working on one.

Maybe something creative,
like Alan Guth’s $3 million marble.
(More precisely, Alan won $3 million for proposing that the universe inflated from a point of singularity to become the size of a marble. (Think of that, a three-dimensional marble!))

You could become a millionaire, too, eric.

THINK!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 May 2016 #permalink

@Deceiver #10: Just because "you don't see how" doesn't mean its wrong. That is the argument from incredulity, a fallacy which your master is really quite good at, but which is woefully inadequate as a method of refutation. All it does is parade your (willful) ignorance as though it were a badge of honor.

The Universe is three dimensional. It has no center, because it has no edge (or if there is one, it is so far away that it might as well not be there).

The _scale_ of the Universe has expanded uniformly in all directions, such that two points which used to separated by the diameter of an atom are now millions of light years apart.

The fact that your mind is too limited (or too afraid) to comprehend that doesn't make it wrong. It just makes you limited.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 14 May 2016 #permalink

@Deceiver #10

S.N. is really more of an idolator, as has been seen when he's been prodded into letting his freak flag fly. He worships (loosely speaking) the RCC Catechism, nothing more.

To eric,

No response?

Maybe you’re working on one.

One may also note the intellectual dishonesty that accompanies this wrapper for an instantiation of a whoppingly ironic, juvenile desire for instant gratification.

To Mikey the SLAC heap:

“Just because “you don’t see how” doesn’t mean its wrong.”

Just because “you don’t see how” doesn’t mean it’s right, either.

However, it probably DOES mean it’s not scientific.
..............
“The Universe is three dimensional. It has no center, because it has no edge (or if there is one, it is so far away that it might as well not be there).”

SLAC heap, does Alan Guth’s $3 million marble have an edge?

You know the marble-sized universe that expanded further into the size of our current universe?
………..
Also, you continue with the use of religious imagery: “Deceiver”, “your master”.
You never answered my question to you on another thread: Do you also consider yourself an expert on religious topics, or even on Christianity?

Do you believe in the Devil?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 14 May 2016 #permalink

I can't wait to hear S.N.'s explanation for the lack of magnetic monopoles. Extra credit if it's some sort of Adam and Eve analogy.

To eric,

No response?

Maybe you’re working on one.

Or maybe I wasn't online yesterday. I see both Narad and Michael have answered you, and my answer would be the same as theirs, so I have little to add. But if you really want to contribute positively to cosmology rather than simply throw stones, you could tell us how your alternate YEC hypothesis explains the CMB.

"However, it probably DOES mean it’s not scientific."

Once again sn tops himself in the "I don't want to understand anything in science so I'll just say something really stupid like people in religion do all the time." sweepstakes

But here’s a question I don’t recall ever being addressed:
What does the BBT rewind say about WHERE the explosion happened?

Seriously? I have been around for a long while, though I rarely comment, so I know you’ve been around for a long while too, and I’m shocked you don’t know the answer to this? This is one of the most commonly asked questions, if not the most commonly asked questions, by people when they’re first introduced to the Big Bang Theory. The fact that you don’t know the answer, and in fact think it’s a gotcha type question, shows that you have no interest in actually learning about the things you critique, but are instead content to keep your fingers in your ears and vomit up word salad. Shame on you.

By Jose Pacheco (not verified) on 15 May 2016 #permalink

To eric #23:

Me: “No response? Maybe you’re working on one.”

You: “Or maybe I wasn’t online yesterday. I see both Narad and Michael have answered you, and my answer would be the same as theirs, so I have little to add.”

You should have stayed off line, because you (and Mikey) have added nothing.

Neither you nor Mikey have answered my questions about the marble - the marble of Alan the Guru Guth, the $3 million man.

Isn’t a marble three dimensional and doesn’t it possess a center?
Well, assuming that marble-sized universe then expanded further into the size of our current universe, where is the center of our universe?

If the boys from cosmo claim that a rewind of the Big Bang takes them on a 13.8 billion year journey leading to an incredibly small starting point, why don’t the cosmo guys tell us where the starting point was?
They can tell us HOW LONG AGO it was, and HOW SMALL it was, BUT NOT WHERE it was?

Why?
………..
“But if you really want to contribute positively to cosmology rather than simply throw stones, you could tell us how your alternate YEC hypothesis explains the CMB.”

Well, one YEC hypothesis might be that the Lord created the CMB simply to provide cosmo guys some surprising and fun images https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COBE_cmb_fluctuations.gif

However, when cosmo guys (and gals) don’t know what something is, they’ll say just about anything about it.
They’ll even say the CMB is a link to another universe:

“Dr Adrienne Erickcek, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and colleagues now believe these fluctuations contain hints that our Universe "bubbled off" from a previous one.
Their data comes from Nasa's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which has been studying the CMB since its launch in 2001.
Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space. From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm

You don’t say?

No, they *do* say!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 May 2016 #permalink

Take 2.

To eric #23:

Me: “No response? Maybe you’re working on one.”

You: “Or maybe I wasn’t online yesterday. I see both Narad and Michael have answered you, and my answer would be the same as theirs, so I have little to add.”

You should have stayed off line, because you (and Mikey) have added nothing.

Neither you nor Mikey have answered my questions about the marble, the marble of Alan the Guru Guth, the $3 million man.
Isn’t a marble three dimensional and doesn’t it possess a center?
Well, assuming that marble-sized universe then expanded further into the size of our current universe, where is the center of our universe?

If the boys from cosmo claim that a rewind of the Big Bang takes them on a 13.8 billion year journey leading to an incredibly small starting point, why don’t the cosmo guys tell us where the starting point was?
They can tell us HOW LONG AGO it was, and HOW SMALL it was, BUT NOT WHERE it was?

Why?
………..
“But if you really want to contribute positively to cosmology rather than simply throw stones, you could tell us how your alternate YEC hypothesis explains the CMB.”
Well, one YEC hypothesis might be that the Lord created the CMB simply to provide cosmo guys some surprising and fun images https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COBE_cmb_fluctuations.gif

When cosmo guys (and gals) don’t know what something is, they’ll say just about anything about it. They’ll even say the CMB is a link to another universe, a parent universe!

“Dr Adrienne Erickcek, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and colleagues now believe these fluctuations contain hints that our Universe "bubbled off" from a previous one.
Their data comes from Nasa's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which has been studying the CMB since its launch in 2001.
Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space. From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular.”
(Google source with “Hints of 'time before Big Bang'+bbc”).

You don’t say?

No, they do say!

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 May 2016 #permalink

You should have stayed off line, because you (and Mikey) have added nothing.

Oh, the irony.

Isn’t a marble three dimensional and doesn’t it possess a center?

Come back when you can understand the answers you've already received. And stop repeatedly posting when you go into moderation for using more than one link. You're like a freaking six-year-old.

sn, does every bit of speculation made by a scientist seem so stupid to you that you automatically put it in your junk heap?
You can't be that stupid can you?

(Google source with “Hints of ‘time before Big Bang’+bbc”)

"Once again, these reports are cheap, pseudoscientific, pornographic material addressed primarily to readers with IQ below 20."

One can see how S.N. would latch onto this six-year-old item.

^ "Eight-year-old," that is.

Well, one YEC hypothesis might be that the Lord created the CMB simply to provide cosmo guys some surprising and fun image

Okay, how would we test that hypothesis? What future data collection would confirm or disconfirm it?

To eric #32:

Me: “Well, one YEC hypothesis might be that the Lord created the CMB simply to provide cosmo guys some surprising and fun images
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COBE_cmb_fluctuations.gif

You: “Okay, how would we test that hypothesis? What future data collection would confirm or disconfirm it?”

That would be kind of like asking “How would we test, with confirming/disconfirming data collection, the hypothesis that a God created the universe from nothing?”

That would be a silly question, even for a scientist.
You can’t seek natural, scientific explanations for things which are beyond natural laws and science.

Yet even science shows that the universe *had a beginning*. But the how and why are beyond science.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 May 2016 #permalink

You can’t seek natural, scientific explanations for things which are beyond natural laws and science.

And in one stroke, S.N. wipes theology from the map, as "natural, scientific" here means neither more nor less than "rational." Can G-d solve the halting problem or not? If so, epistemology does not apply, and the intellectual edifice of the RCC instantly collapses.

That would be a silly question, even for a scientist.
You can’t seek natural, scientific explanations for things which are beyond natural laws and science.

So then you don't actually have an alternative hypothesis that can explain anything, do you?

To eric #35:

“So then you don’t actually have an alternative hypothesis that can explain anything, do you?”

What is your hypothesis for the how and the why of the source of the alleged Big Bang?

And how would you test, with confirming/disconfirming data collection, that hypothesis?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 15 May 2016 #permalink

So, back to 'science doesn't know everything' and the argument from incredulity. Well, at lest you're consistent.

"Let us say that we finally reach the outer limit of the universe. What should we call that on the other side of the limit?"

We can't.

The limit we get to is like the limit of the count of people alive. It doesn't end there. Just your definition of where you were going to end at the time you made the decision.

dean: "You can’t be that stupid can you?"

Oh, no, see nowt definitely can be that stupid. After all it believes it will be tortured for eternity if it doesn't insist that the fairy tale is real.

Terror is an excellent way of ensuring stupidity. Al Q and RCC are in many ways no different.