The Scale of our Universe 60 replies

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Showd0wN

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7th February 2009

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#1 8 years ago

More science time, because that's all I ever really seem to talk about :) vCnHl.gif

I guess the discussion would be, who was aware of the scale of the universe? Do you have any particular analogy you use to try and describe it?

Without wanting this to become part of the religious thread: to those theists and deists, how does the sheer scale of the universe make you feel about any "centrality" that is attributed to our species? Actually this can be applied to anyone - how does the scale of the universe make you feel? (If anything at all).

Does it inspire any particular thoughts?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 8 years ago

I've never assigned any particularly importance to scale beyond a certain point. The difference between one star and another when looking up at the sky may be measured in thousands of years, yet to me they're both specks in the darkness.

There are analogies that in a rather brute way allow us to express relationships between large values, but when you can - with imagination - cross a million light-years in the blink of an eye; survey them as if from some omnipotent perch; then the universe seems smaller. Or perhaps we seem bigger, I suppose - as a matter of perspective - it amounts to the same thing.

I'm a primitive thinking primitive thoughts. I evolved to do hunter-gatherer things. The terms in which I visualise large scale occurrences create a system of largely empty referents. 100,000 lightyears, a billion lightyears - whatever. You have to start taking those terms apart and saying X amount of this thing I do comprehend; and when you do that you're just looking at a bit of it - snapshots of the things you understand presented in succession or some mental matrix like labels on a filling cabinet. There's a limit to the amount I can take in at once and it can't all be put back together - I have to make an intellectual toy that picks out simplified relationships.

As such the universe does not overawe me by scale, it can't. The experiences capable of doing so are far more personal in nature, they don't generalise well.

When I was a kid I was walking back from an evening class and I saw the moon hanging in the sky. Like one of those little art cards you scratch to reveal a lighter surface in. The world seemed to fall away in a moment of vertigo. A perfect moment. That was an overawing moment. Although more than likely I was just knackered, come to think of it I've had similar sensations shortly before passing out, just without a suitably beautiful image before my eyes.

Thoughts? What would an ant think about a mountain? Would it imagine other ants in the indefinable vastness above it? Would it project onto the mountain the idea that it was all created for its benefit? From a certain perspective tectonics must look very much like the work of a large ant.




Flash525

The Carbon Comrade

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#3 8 years ago

Hah, and some people don't believe in the possibility that there is other life out there. :rolleyes:

Showd0wN;5423772I guess the discussion would be, who was aware of the scale of the universe? Do you have any particular analogy you use to try and describe it?[/quote]The funny thing is, we still don't know just exactly how big the Universe is. We've got an idea on it's scale, but that's pretty much it. We don't know where it ends, we don't know when it started either. Can only estimate.

[QUOTE=Showd0wN;5423772]Without wanting this to become part of the religious thread: to those theists and deists, how does the sheer scale of the universe make you feel about any "centrality" that is attributed to our species? Actually this can be applied to anyone - how does the scale of the universe make you feel?

Generally, this makes me 'feel' very small, and very insignificant, but I knew that anyway.

What does interest me, is (as stated) those other galaxies that we saw on the slide-show picture, I think it said some of them were 800 million years old or something? Some time after the big bang? That being true, and light travelling as fast / slow as it does, there's a good chance those galaxies don't actually exist anymore, and we're just seeing their remnants.




SikTh

Typically British

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#4 8 years ago
aesc;5423828Generally, this makes me 'feel' very small, and very insignificant, but I knew that anyway.

This.

I've always been aware that the universe is huge but we've never really known, and still don't know, how big it is exactly. For all we know, the universe could be endless. And that actually scares me, to think that beyond our planets atmosphere lies an endless abyss. I love the thought of being able to travel to and explore other planets but the universe -- it just scares me, and I can't explain why.




jackripped

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#5 8 years ago
Showd0wN;5423772More science time, because that's all I ever really seem to talk about :) vCnHl.gif I guess the discussion would be, who was aware of the scale of the universe? Do you have any particular analogy you use to try and describe it? Without wanting this to become part of the religious thread: to those theists and deists, how does the sheer scale of the universe make you feel about any "centrality" that is attributed to our species? Actually this can be applied to anyone - how does the scale of the universe make you feel? (If anything at all). Does it inspire any particular thoughts?

OK Sunday night and had a few beers but anyways got spell check so lol, the universe, utterly huge, so huge its still hard for most humans to comprehend, makes one feel pretty insignificant in the grand scale of things, makes one realize that the universe is pretty random, convinces others there must be a god, and others there must not be, sort of is incredible just the sheer size of it, in fact the sheer size of our galaxy alone is pretty incredible, 400 thousand stars or more or less around that, just awesome the sheer size of a Galaxy, the universe is still hard to comprehend, [Jesus l keep having to delete stuff and re-type it cause the keyboard is blurry what a pain in the universal butthole ] but at the end of the day Hubble has shown us a glimpse of truth here and the sheer size of it cannot be denied, it is massive.Makes me happy to know the odds of an alien species ever reaching us and killing us its pretty much zero, and likewise us reaching a planet outside our solar system pretty much impossible to invade is pretty cool, we can all get along if we all ev en exist that is hahaha, something like that anyways, don't ask me its pretty late but l couldn't resist this topic, so , it makes me feel great that we can look into the universe, traverse time itself and discover the most incredible things, like who would have ever pictured super nova 4000 years ago, just awesome. We have the power of science and its process, an unequaled process for discovering truths, the universe is one truth that science has taught us an awful lot about, 1000 years ago the universe revolved around the planet earth, and today we see that is wrong and the power of science is just awesome.l better stop here for l feel lm dribbling an that. !




NiteStryker

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#6 8 years ago
Nemmerle;5423795

Beat me to this, lol.

Yes, the universe is huge, yes, there IS life out there somewhere, no, we will not make contact with it in our lifetime, and if we are lucky, MAYBE a man will land on Mars while we are on our deathbeds.




Flash525

The Carbon Comrade

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#7 8 years ago
SwitchBlade;5423829For all we know, the universe could be endless. And that actually scares me, to think that beyond our planets atmosphere lies an endless abyss.

Same here. I guess (alike Death) it's the 'not-knowing'.

Even then though, if someone figured out there was an end, we'd have to ask to question of what is on the other side. What's stopping the Universe from expanding?




jackripped

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#8 8 years ago

The universe could still be expanding at the same time, why would you assume it would stop ? Someone has already figured out that our universe is a ''bubble'' and it does have an edge even if we cant go there and that it is still expanding.The back round radiation shows the shape of our universe. No-one knows whats on the other side, but maths is usually on the mark, and maths is telling us that there is another universe on the other side, kind of like a bubble bath each bubble being a universe.Thats all theory.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#9 8 years ago

When people start talking about multiple universes I wonder what they're really describing. It seems very much as if they've taken probability a step too far in the desire to make this universe particularly, 'likely.' (Or more commonly a certainty.)




jackripped

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#10 8 years ago

Yea l agree with that, maths tells us allot of things ,but multi universe bubble bath style is a hard one to predict and possibly impossible to prove. Perception is reality !