Sunday, 13 November 2011

Can we know what the Universe looks like, now?

I was reading an article this morning about how scientists have found two massive clouds of gas that are pure, without any metals, they describe it as primitive, uncontaminated gas and support the long-standing theory as to how the chemical elements were formed in the early universe. They go on to say that the research also suggests stars have been unable to distribute metals throughout the Universe.

The question that entered my head after reading all this is; how do they know what the Universe is actually like now, when all the evidence is based on observation and analysis of light. Surely all we know for sure is how the Universe looked whenever the light was created, and that the scary fact is we have no idea what the Universe is actually like today, now at present.

This creates a paradox I may have mentioned before, the Universe could be seen as bi-polar, in that we have the Universe as we perceive it now, in our perspective, yet this Universe is not a true representation of how the Universe actually looks, or is for that matter. I always wondered how the Universe would be perceived if it was actually dead and all the stars stopped shining. Let’s say every galaxy apart from our own is now long gone, and all the light being emitted will soon stop. It would be at least 2 million years before we may realise the Universe is dead.

Then now I think further, what if the Universe overall is just like a mirage and the closer you get to a galaxy, the less likelihood of it being real. If you think about it; imagine if you were on a super fast spaceship travelling away from the Milky Way, heading towards Andromeda, then logically the galaxy should change as you moved closer to it. And if you were travelling fast enough it would seem like some kind of stop motion film, like flower petals opening in the light, or clouds rushing across the sky.

The stars would go through their life cycles incredibly quickly, you would see many supernovas, as well as births, and you would see the life and death of stars in the blink of an eye, as you travelled nearer and nearer to Andromeda.

As this is happening looking forward, if you were to see through your rearview mirror (or just look backwards, I doubt spaceships have rearview mirrors), the Milky Way would seem to change also, getting younger and younger, we could actually see the birth of our own star the Sun, and the formation of the planets. Time travel would then be observed if not experienced.

I have never thought of the Universe is such a way before, that if you travelled the incredibly long distances between stars or galaxies, especially galaxies, they would significantly change. This begs the question about reality and what is real and what is not. I have mentioned this before that the likelihood of some of the stars that are further away than say four billion Earth years existing, especially if they were massive stars is remote, and the actual structure of the Universe will never be as it is observed by telescopes today.

Maybe this has a bearing on why Einstein theorized we could not go faster than light, because basically our brains would not be able to comprehend, or for that matter, function and understand the reality being created around its observed perspective.

In a way I feel it adds to my perspective argument because it stipulates a limit to the human perspective, how easily the human brain can observe and comprehend what it sees as reality in front of its own senses. It also brings back one of my original arguments that the moment, now, is very important because it is like a speed limit that we are able to visualize and interpret the information the brain is receiving. How would the brain react to travelling at say one hundred light years an hour, as we hurtled towards Andromeda? How would the body react or your mind, your thought process, the ability to understand reality? Although as I think further, if you use Einsteins theories, whilst you are on the spaceship you would not notice the difference.

I suppose it is a mute point as we will never know at least not in my lifetime, but it is interesting to think about and it may help to understand what the Universe or Reality actually might be.

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