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 What would you see?

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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: What would you see?   Mon 05 Feb 2018, 21:40

This may be a stupid question but :

  " if you  stood on the edge of the universe and looked straight ahead what would you see?"
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What would you see?   Mon 05 Feb 2018, 22:03

Hi Dirk. Not a stupid question, but it assumes that the "edge" of the universe is akin to a border between two "areas" in which the laws of physics equally apply and that space continues beyond where space - by definition - cannot exist. In most models of the universe the area "ahead" into which you look would have to be still within the area where the laws actually apply in the sense we understand and perceive them. Beyond the universe there is no "ahead" to look, and definitely not "straight".
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: What would you see?   Tue 06 Feb 2018, 16:58

There again the space-time of the universe might well be topologically enclosed within itself (even while it is expanding) and therefore there is no "edge" at all. So a bit analagous to the Earth's surface, which in reality but also even when represented as a 2-dimensional map (like a quasi-flat Earth, for example on Google Earth), still has no "edge", and so if you keep scrolling on the map, or walking on the real thing, whether you go East, West, North, or whichever direction, there's always more ahead, and you leave more behind you from where you set out, and yet eventually you end up back where you started.

Such a topology can only be described mathematically and cannot be represented in 3 dimensions so it's difficult to conceptualise ... just think how difficult it would be to explain a sphere to 2-dimensional beings living on a 2D flat world where, for example the only way on their world to pass one another would be to climb over each other: see Edwin Abbott's thought-provoking little novel, Flatland.


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 06 Feb 2018, 19:55; edited 1 time in total
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What would you see?   Tue 06 Feb 2018, 18:31

Indeed, MM. And in so far as the universe can be said to have an approachable extent there is the added complication of time, as well as space, having no definition beyond that point. Should one therefore even manage to isolate that point and utilise it as a viewing position there is every likelihood that one would merely see oneself seeing oneself, potentially through eternity and for as far as the eye can see. Personally I could not think of a more excruciating prospect, in both senses of the term!
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PostSubject: Re: What would you see?   Tue 06 Feb 2018, 20:05

Then there are the effects of relativity too ... Assuming that the universe is expanding (and it does seem to be) then the "leading edge" is probably going quite fast, something approaching the speed of light maybe. In which case time for an observer sat on the expanding "edge" would be nearly stationary: you wouldn't be aging but equally you wouldn't see anything else changing, you'd just be locked in an unchanging instant. Mind you that would probably be the least of your worries because as you approach light velocity your apparent mass would tend towards infinite ... and some of us are over-weight already!
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