“Staggering” –The Implications of Infinite Space


Hubble Constant


“If space is truly infinite,” observes Dan Hooper,  head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in At the Edge of Time, “the implications are staggering. Within an infinite expanse of space, it would be hard to see any reason why there would not be an infinite number of galaxies, stars, and planets, and even an infinite number of intelligent or conscious beings, scattered throughout this limitless volume. That is the thing about infinity: it takes things that are otherwise very unlikely and makes them all inevitable.”

The nature of infinity is such that with an infinite amount of space, there are an infinite number of universes — collections of atoms and other particles located at specific places at specific times oriented in almost exactly the same way that they are in our Earth world. Within an infinite space, suggests Hooper there are inevitably an infinite number of universes that are indistinguishable from our own.

“These worlds contain a star that is nearly identical to the Sun, which is orbited by a planet that is nearly identical to the Earth, which contains upon it people who are nearly identical to you and me,” he writes. “If space as we know it extends forever, this conclusion is inevitable. All things and all events that are possible, no matter how unlikely, will exist and will occur within this greater collection of space.”

Dark Energy –“New Exotic Matter or ET Force Field?”

The expansion of space driven by the unsolved mystery of dark energy, divides it into a number of causally disconnected region, each is a universe of its own surrounded by an impenetrable cosmic horizon, the size of which is determined by how fast space is expanding.

Although, in our current era of accelerating expansion space is continuously being divided into a larger number of disconnected universes there was a point in cosmic history at the Big Bang during which the accelerating expansion of space was far more dramatic.

Our current discrete universe is getting bigger every second, with the space between galaxies is stretching, like dough rising in the oven. The “tension” between the early and late universe may be the most exciting development in cosmology in decades,” says Nobel laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Johns Hopkins University, about new Hubble Space Telescope data that suggest a faster expansion rate in the modern universe than expected, based on how the universe appeared more than 13 billion years ago strengthening the case that new theories may be needed to explain the dark energy forces that have shaped the cosmos.

“This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke. This disparity could not plausibly occur just by chance,” stresses Riess.

The end result for our cosmic island of infinite space is that in some distant future thanks to its continued expansion, long after the sun grows to engulf Earth clusters of once-neighboring galaxies will begin zooming away from each other so fast that even light won’t be able to bridge the gap and darkness will pervade the cosmos.

Image at the top of the page: is a ground-based telescope’s view of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The inset image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals one of many star clusters scattered throughout the dwarf galaxy. The cluster members include a special class of pulsating star called a Cepheid variable, which brightens and dims at a predictable rate that corresponds to its intrinsic brightness. Once astronomers determine that value, they can measure the light from these stars to calculate an accurate distance to the galaxy.

When the new Hubble observations are correlated with an independent distance measurement technique to the Large Magellanic Cloud (using straightforward trigonometry), the researchers were able to strengthen the foundation of the so-called “cosmic distance ladder.” This “fine-tuning” has significantly improved the accuracy of the rate at which the universe is expanding, called the Hubble constant.

Credits: NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScI/JHU) and Palomar Digitized Sky Survey

The Daily Galaxy, Max Goldberg, via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Dan Hooper, At the Edge of Time  (p. 187-188). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.