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Is the Universe as old as they say it is?

If you’ve heard the theory that the Universe we reside in is roughly 13.7 billion years old, then try this on for size.

If you’ve seen the show “Universe” on Discovery Channel, this is my point of reference.

During the show, they brought up many interesting points that seemed incredibly logical and all entirely possible. I actually agree that most theories could actually be truth, which would be just incredible. However, the point I’m most concerned with is the point they made about the bubble of perception that surrounds our Earth, which scientists have stated can be and is what is used to date the age of the universe. I’m concerned because later in the episode, they explained that the perception bubble moves with the observer, which means that at any one time you can only see 13.7 billion light years away. This is strange because with this concept, if you are here, and i am 10 billion light years away, i can technically see 10 billion light years the other way at an object 20 billion light years from you, which you wouldn’t be able to see. strange huh?

I do believe the universe is endless, or at least so big it doesn’t matter to us. People who study this field are incredibly logical and intelligent. However, the fact that they base the age of the universe on how far we can see into space doesn’t seem to make any sense.

My theory involves an old theory that when the universe exploded and began expansion, particles were flung out faster than the speed of light. With this, I believe that, in general, the universe is still expanding, and with every unit of measure, the light wavelengths from farther objects expand and expand until they become incredibly red due to red shift. These objects are seen using a radio telescope, or a telescope that picks up radiowaves distant objects that are traveling far and away from us emit. Because the distant objects are universally expanding from a central point, all objects expand from each other no matter what point of reference is taken, as long as that point of reference is moving away from the initial central point that started the expansion. With this idea, and the theory that the perception bubble moves with observer, it’s easy to see that the size of the universe is much larger than we can understand, and it just doesn’t make sense that age should be based on what we can see with a radio telescope.

I don’t know people. I’ve been confused about this for a while. Any thoughts?
for eelfins:

i have heard that, and agree it is a strong point. however, because the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light, it could be that you may never see the light from those distant objects simply because the light emitted is only traveling the speed of light, and will henceforth never reach you.

Its bothering the crap out of me.
Ha. for Chris:

I appreciated your rant, however you answered my question with 2 contradictory points: that everything in the universe is accelerating and that thing you said about time. (i forgot what u said). anyways, glad to see someone else suffering from these impossible questions.

to argue against ur first one, scientests only studied one galaxy, which means the evidence would have been flawed. After all, we are accelerating into the andromeda galaxy as we speak. if the galaxy observed by the scientists is the other way, we could infact be accelerating towrds Andromeda, but away from the galaxy studied. im sure if they had continued researched they wouldve seen some interesting and contradictory results.

Asked by:forklift


  1. Bob says:

    there are some things hanging around from the big bang, the only surving materials from it floating through space, we use these as well as looking at how big the universe is know and how far it must of expanded to work out size

  2. eelfins says:

    The age of the universe was actually attained by measuring the expansion rate of the universe. The Hubble telescope was used to identify cepheid variable stars in other galaxies, because their distance can be accuratly measured. Based on their red shifts, the exansion rate could be determined. Afterward it was relatively easy to extrapolate the age. The reason I would not be able to see something 20 billion light years away while you could (because you were closer to it), is that light would take 20 billion years to get from there to here. You would be able to see it from only 10 billiion light years away, but not me because it wasn’t around 20 billion years ago.

  3. oklatonola says:

    As our technology improves, so does the limit of the sphere of our perception. The extent of our sphere of perception is limited, but expanding. The universe may very well be older than 13.7 billion years.

  4. Chris says:

    The Big Bang Theory has always troubled me because, its very heart is based on a beginning, and of course a singularity with infinite density. I cannot stand the idea of infinite density or a beginning and therefore couldn’t fully believe the big bang theory. As you may or may not know, the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. This is reasonably contradictory to what the bang says about where we should be at this point (slowing down right before the “big crunch” starts to happen). I suggest, although could never prove, that the universe is infinitely old. You could see where I’m coming from by thinking about time. If this happened then this happened then this happened, you could assume based on all data received that there are infinite “this” happening before and after the “this” just like you could assume with repeating 6 and 3 in math problems. We have never seen or observed time stop or start, so why do we think it would. If there was a start like the big bang then what was the catalyst doing before it sparked it. The way they date the “known” universe is through many many observations and calculations about estimated distance to stars, health of the stars in relation to neighboring stars and factoring in the acceleration factor I briefly spoke of. These are perhaps the age numbers you saw on TV. One question I would like answered is do they count the new stars as that old as well? Or what about the dead stars? Are they still that old?
    Basically all stars emit elements directly based on the mass of the star, ours emits helium. If you can account for every element from them except for hydrogen. If hydrogen is somehow the product of an inherent error in virtual particles much like registry errors on a computer builds up over time, then you don’t need to explain anything else about life. My equation is +1-1=0 see we are the positive one, or the negative one for that matter. The point is we are the equation, and the result is 0. It seems too easy but that is all this is, borrowed space with no value. Sorry to rant but its fun to think about.

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