April 28, 2018 ∏: (3.14159) How much faster than light can our universe be seen to expand in our direction?
A long time ago, in order to reduce friction with the ground and move heavy objects (faster than dragging them) the wheel was invented. The neat thing about the wheel is that by geometry of a circle, the radius of the wheel could by multiplied by a number around six (6, approximately equal to 2∏) to find out how far a man, or ox, could pull a weight with one rotation of the wheels (at least two wheels for balance (remember the chariot scenes from the movie, BEN HUR?)
Today as astronomers look into the sky, there might be another geometric correlation with a circle:
How far is it to the center of our universe where the Big Bang supposedly started it all? The answer is around 14 billion light years. This link not only gives us a radial distance in time of expansion, but ways of thinking of the expansion. [Not sure they mention the idea that the relationship boundary keeps increasing, perhaps due to the universe becoming explicit (just as a sugar solution becomes explicit in crystalline form, or water becomes explicit in the form of frost). These expansive universal boundaries are relationships across some change in some factor/aspect which delineates systems that relate to one another inside the energetic surface of expansion.]
How far can we see back into the past, so we know how far our universe has expanded since its beginning?
From the shifting to the color red of the spectra (rainbows) of stars, astrophysicists can calculate the time it took for light to travel from the most distant galaxies and stars to our own (the Red Shift in light waves, as it is known, is similar to the Doppler Shift of sound waves: the faster bodies expand away from each other, the longer the wavelength of light into the red).
The time it took for the farthest galaxies we can see to send their light to us is about a duration of 14 billion years. If our universe was a sphere or circle, then, with a radius of 14 billion light years, our hemisphere (half a circumference of a circle) would measure out to be three times that, or six times that (2∏ for the whole circumference). Except ,,,
A big mystery from all of these thought experiments about our universe is: If all the other galaxies in our universe, and all the other stars in our universe, are moving away from us at three times the speed of light, then even if we traveled at warp two (two times the speed of light, which we believe to be impossible), then we’d still never reach our target star!
According to our experiment, if we could look at the emergence of our universe as the speed at which relationship boundaries become explicit (virtual, depending upon the perspectives between systems), then we can think of the universe as spherically surfaced like the surface of a blown-up balloon. Except we know, based on our experiment, the space at the surface of our universe is most certainly buckled (inward at high density areas and outward close to where these areas meld with the expanding low-density, energetic regions).
Does time pass between massive areas (General Relativity), the same way it does close to those areas (Special Relativity)? The farther away from a gravity well of high mass the more energetic the object, the more energy required to keep that object in its orbit at that distance. The more energetic the greater the creation of space (size of orbital length and the greater the expansion experienced).
So, since the first trough (the offset trough in our experiment) is very close to the singularity source (of the Big Bang? The black dot in the cell illustration above), everything around it would expand more the farther out you go.
The latest news suggests that our 14 billion light years is not the total distance all the way back to this black hole sink (trough), but since, when we look back that far with our telescopes the red gets more intense, then fizzles out, can we use this drop in red, or into infrared, to give us an idea of all the additional time our universe has existed before now? (Read the link and other information on event horizons around black holes to develop your own ideas about this).
The good news is that since our star is in middle age when we are here (about 5 billion light years), that doesn’t give us much time to adjust to our planet before the sun gets very hot and the Earth is no longer habitable. But if our universe were twice as old as we now think, then conscious beings that could travel the stars might exist in larger populations.
The bad news might be how this universal expansion might affect the distance we experience when we attempt to reach our target star. For multicellular beings, or structured beings as ourselves, or computational AIs, the average speed we can reach without dissociating would be so small that we’d need generation ships. By the time we got to, say, Proxima Centauri (the nearest star), because of the expansion, it may be much farther away than first estimated.
So we’re back to the question: If we could even travel the speed of light, would stars expand away from us? Would we be left adrift, never to reach our target planet? And would there be anyone out there to greet us, if the closest star systems are not energetic enough to produce a Jupiter (needed to rain down genetic material via panspermia)?