The universe is the name that we gave to the vastness of everything that we know and we don’t. When people could not define the boundaries of the heavens above them, they called it collectively. From the first time the word was used, the universe has had a lot of different meanings, dimensions and ingredients. Now we are at an age where we think we are in the most advanced stages of understanding the universe. We also think that we hold the most advanced technology to probe through the space with equipments to comprehend more than our ancestors did. So what really is the universe? How big it is and how vast it is in its extension? I don’t know how big it could be, but I think it is not as big as we think.
The key element that is used to measure the universe and its contents is the size of things. The distances between elements are so huge that we adapted to use the light years as the measurement units for distances. Everyone knows what a light year means; it is the distance that light could travel in a year. Light travels a little more than a second to reach the moon. There are exact figures and I don’t want to go too scientific so that the concept is being diverted into formulas.
There is one thing that everyone seems like missing in the measurements. The stars have an estimated lifespan. The lifespan of a star depends mostly on its solar mass. They could range from a several million years to a several billion years. If a star on the other side of the known universe did begin to exist, the light would have started travelling ever since. If we fix a life span for that particular star, then we can imagine when the light will stop being emitted from the star. We also would calculate the time it would take the light to reach us based on the distance between us and the star.
Let’s fix the lifespan of this particular star to 100 billion years. That means, after 100 billion years, the star is not there. Let’s fix a distance from the star to us. Let’s say it is a 100 billion light years. A hundred billion light years might seem like a huge distance but is a very normal distance in the universe. With these two assumptions, what we can know is that when the first lights of the star reaches our eyes or telescopes, we will see the primitive star but in effect, there is no star at all. When we see the brighter emissions of light due to the explosion of the star as it disintegrates, the star would have been extinct for a hundred billion years. Why? Because the light took a hundred billion years to reach us and when we see that light, it has been 100 billion years after the event has happened.
When we first saw the primitive star, then we should expect the light to be coming in continuously for the next 100 billion years because we know that the star’s lifespan is 100 billion years. After those 100 billion years; that is after we had seen the star exploding, the light would stop. If we continued to receive light from that particular star for more than a 100 billion years that would mean that the star has a higher lifespan. So the time limit for which we can receive light from a star is exactly the time limit of the lifespan of that star. If a star lived only a million years, then we cannot receive light from the star for more than a million years.
This is where it gets tricky. We have limitations to the lifespan of stars. There is a maximum time when a star could exist. The real problem is that we are receiving light from stars that are too far away so that the light took too longer than the lifespan of the star to reach us. This means, all the stars that are beyond a certain distance are not there!
Even the stars within the distance boundary that would define the border of the maximum lifespan of a star that light could travel in, will still be in various stages than what we see them now. What we see as primitive stars a million light years away would really be hosting planets as we see them. When we look in the skies, we are only seeing the past. When scientists look at the center of the galaxy for a black hole activity, they are looking into thousands of years in the past. When the scientists are looking into the furthest edges of the universe, they are looking into something that is not there. When we see distant galaxies that are millions of light years away, there might actually be not a single star at all. They all could have become extinct at the time when the light reached us.
Not only we are seeing things that are not there, but we are also not seeing things that out there. Imagine the star light coming from a very bright star towards the earth from a hundred light years away. Now please imagine that a planet sized cosmic body started traveling through the earth from the same direction. Can you imagine what happens if that cosmic body came into alignment with the light that was travelling towards earth? The light would still be travelling towards us and then there is this cosmic body in the middle of the light beam blocking the rest of the light beam to come to us. Will we see the cosmic body yet? No, we will not; because we will still be seeing the star as all what we receive is the light from the star. If the cosmic body blocked the light some two light years away from earth, then it would take us two years to see that cosmic body. And it is not just light and visibility to the telescopes. Whatever device you use and whatever ray you are looking for, you will not see the body yet because the light from that body has not reached you. If that body was travelling closer to the speed of light, then when you realize that there is something, that thing would already be closer to you.
So we don’t really see everything in our vicinity. We are living in the present but all what we see in the skies are past events. The universe is a tale telling book for us to say what happened. It does not allow us to know what is happening right now.
It becomes even confusing when we know that the light does not essentially travel in linear paths. Forget about your science teacher; they just taught you the syllabus. Light bends over larger objects with larger masses. It was proven that light bent over the sun when it came by it from some distinct star. This is because the gravity is so big near the sun that even the light travelling closer to it would be pulled a bit in.
If we imagined a star from around a hundred billion years away from us; then how many stars are there in between? How many masses would the light have to pass by? The weirdest of all aspects of astronomy and the most important elements of the entire universe are the black holes. They are the power houses of galaxies. They are the ones that limit the star formation in a galaxy and they manage the mass of a galaxy by eating the mass and also pushing the gas dust away from forming new stars. These black holes are so dense that they hold around half a percent of the entire mass of a galaxy. Imagine a galaxy with some hundred million stars. Then the black hole in the middle of it should weigh the equivalent of at least around five hundred thousand stars. The volume of the black hole is so tiny that the gravity in it is almost infinitive. Can you imagine how much a beam of light travelling by a black hole would bend?
Think of the comets that come by the sun and how their paths are changed. It is exactly what would be happening to light that falls near the stars. The closer the light goes by, the more the bending effect would be. Like the comets hitting and disintegrating into the sun, there will be light that hits the black hole and gets consumed. There would also be light that is closer enough to be pulled by the black hole but not close enough to be consumed. These beams of lights will have largely varying trajectories. Some beams that were coming towards the earth would even turn back and travel away from earth just like the comets do upon coming closer to the sun.
The closer the galaxies are to us, the more that they are going to reflect the cosmic light away from us. This will again hide much of the contents in the universe that we think we know. Again; it is not just light, the X-rays, the gamma rays, the radio waves and photons of any kind would be affected in the same way. We are not allowed to know what is happening out there right now.
Our own galaxy has a black hole in the centre of it. Anything that we see in that direction that does not belong to our galaxy is not where we think it is. Our black hole is tremendously pulling light and causing curvature in the path of the light. So, all what we see as coming behind our galaxy is not really from behind our galaxy; those are to the sides of galaxy. It is only the light from them are diverted to come to us in a way that we think that the light is coming from right behind the galaxy. And all what seems to be in the sides of our galaxy are not really there because they are too far from us and they are being interacted by too many pieces of masses before reaching us.
The only way to find out the real path of light from one star to us would be to know exactly all the masses that are on the way of the light. Our current way of understanding the masses in between involves measuring the light emitted by those stars in some forms always. This only loops it up to us seeing only the past and the illusion of the universe and not the real one.
There is a way. We have to start mapping from the earth. We have to take the earth as the center of the universe once again. Back to the square once again; we have to perceive that the earth is the center of the universe. Why? Because everything else we see in the heavens are not there. We have to take a 3D map which is possible now with computers. Then we have to mark the center of the map as the earth. Then we have to go with the objects that are closer to us; starting from our moon. Mapping first object would only be in a 2D perspective if we did take the earth as a dot in the map. Here comes the wisdom; we should not mark the moon where it is now but we should mark the moon where it will be in the next one and a half second. That is where the moon is right now, but we will only see it after one and a half second because the light takes one and a half second to travel from the moon. We have to do this to all the cosmic bodies we have to map. We have to project the trajectory of the bodies and find out where they would be in the next unit of time that light would take to reach us from them. So when we mark the sun, we should mark it where it would be in the next eight minutes and twenty seconds; because that is where the sun is right now and we will see it only in eight minutes and twenty seconds. When we build up the map from inside, then we can see what we have been missing. There will be some bizarre revealing that the planets were not where we thought that they were. This would explain why we thought we had mathematical mistakes and anomalies in the universe. They were not just mathematical mistakes; they were epic failures of ours not to find out that we are looking for something that is not there.
The weirdness of the story does not end up there. The universe is like a hall fitted with mirrors all over the walls, floor and roof. When you stand inside this hall, what you are going to see is not what is really there. There are too many clouds and objects that are in the interstellar and intergalactic spaces that can act like mirrors and change the direction of light and other energy forms by various means. To the worst case, what we see as in one direction might really be a reflection of something in the other direction. We could be seeing instances of events took place in a single location but yet treat them as different objects.
For example, if you take a star that starts to form, the light from it would be travelling in all directions. If we took four particular directions that the beams were travelling then we can understand why the sky might be showing one object twice in different locations but at the same time. Consider a star that is a hundred million light years away from us. Now consider only two directions of light coming from the star; the one beam coming directly towards us and the other beam going directly away from us to the opposite direction. We will be seeing the star in a hundred million years. Now imagine that the light travelled in the opposite direction went close to masses that bent it here and there and made it bend in one direction all the time. The light would at some point, turn around and come back in the direction of us, but not exactly from where the star is. It would have travelled a few degrees away from that direction and is now coming from a few degrees away in the sky. What would we see is that these two light beams would be portraying two different ages of the star. The first beam would hit us first. The second beam will definitely come later. If it took the second beam to spend one million years in bending and turning before reaching us, then the two beams are separated by one million years. That means when the first beam carries light from a particular age of the star, the second beam would be carrying light from a million years younger star; because the second beam delayed a million years. This means not both of the beams will show us the same object. Also we will perceive these as two different objects because the lights are coming from two different locations separated by a few degrees in the sky.
What our astronomers with telescopes are going to find out is a younger star that has planets forming around it another older star that has planets orbiting around it; but in fact these are two events that happened to the same object in two different time frames. Sounds weird? This is not the worst part. Imagine the galaxies that you see all over the skies; of course with your telescopes. How many of those are repeated reflections and different videos of the same guy?
To me, the universe is a panoramic video of how we came into existence. It is not billions of billions of stars galaxies out there. The numbers are limited. There could only be a certain number of planets around the sun at maximum and the formation and retention of planets around the sun ceases. Well, let’s start from the smaller things. There is a limit for the number of electrons to be in an orbit around a nucleus in an atom. There is a limit for the maximum number of protons, neutrons and electrons to be in a stable atom.
There is a limit for the number of stars a galaxy can form and hold. There are limits for the local group and other galaxy clusters. There must be a limit for the universe. The universe is not infinite; neither is a black hole. The density and gravity of black holes could be measured when attempted in factuality. Things that were once science fiction had turned into real science and now science is turning into science fiction. This will stop when people realize a few basics that they put it wrong in the first place. The facts like “where Alpha Century is; is not where you think it is” have to be dealt with. The biggest problem with scientists is that they need proof to understand. No, that is not what science requires; you need evidence to proof but you don’t need proof to understand. All what you need to understand is apply some logical arguments.
The most intriguing of all things in the world is the boundary of the universe. Where is the boundary of the universe? Or is there even a boundary? The universe is not a 3D object. Our comprehension of a boundary is limited to a 3D space. Could there be physical boundaries to the universe? Definitely yes; and we can even calculate how long from the earth could the boundary be. To shed light on the physical boundaries of the universe, we need to turn on to the light once more.
There is a limit to mass of a star. A star could only weigh so much until it gets unstable and split into different bodies. There is also a limit to the minimum mass a star. If a star gets less than that mass, then it cannot produce the nuclear reaction that qualifies it to be a star. Based on the limits of the masses, we can also derive a maximum life span for a star. Let’s say it is around 1000 billion years at maximum. Then the universe could hold its boundaries at a maximum of 2000 billion light years from the earth in any direction. Is it that simple to calculate the physical boundaries of the universe? I think yes. Why?
We have to start from the big bang. Whenever in the past the big bang took place the entire universe started to expand. The reason why we have blue shift is because some stars rotating their galactic centers move towards the earth faster than the galaxies moving away from us. Necessarily all energy brought about by the big bang were distributed around the center of the bang. The energy, space and time expanded. That is a whole new set of theme to follow. I am not going deep into it. I have explained some of those in different articles of mine. I will stay on with the boundary of the universe.
So; when the universe expanded, the center of the explosion should have become more diluted when everything started to move apart. It is the space where we are that is the most diluted. We think that we are at the edge of our galaxy. We may be, but we are not at the edge of the universe. We are at the centre. There is no proof until you find out the boundaries of the universe. To find out the boundaries of the universe, let’s take this as an assumption because I know that nobody is ready to even think that the earth is in the centre of the universe. When the universe started expanding, all what it contained was pure energy in the beginning. Let’s say the universe had expanded to a few billion cubic kilometers when the first particles of mass started forming. The important thing is that all the particle formation should have been uniform all over the universe as it started; because the universe was closer to singularity and everywhere was similar. The basic particles should have been travelling back and forth into energy and mass for a while. Once there were stable mass particles, then the drama should have begun.
Mass would have affected the energy and vice versa. Now the particles are attracted towards each other and propelled away from each other by various forms of energy in the universe. As a result of the expansion, there would have been less density of energy and mass in the middle and the concentration would have been towards the edges. When the expansion gave enough space for the energy to slow down into mass, the particles formed. When particles got into each other, they started forming the first atoms all the way to galaxies. The most galaxies that were formed should have been formed at the edges of the universe because that is where the particles had been travelling to. The universe is still expanding, but it should be slowing down in contrary to the popular belief. Almost all of the first batch of galaxies should have formed in the same time. There should have been more galaxies at the edges of the universe; whatever shape the universe was.
The baby universe with the first batch of galaxies should have been full of light that if we would have been there, then there would have been no night. It would be day all day. As the galaxies fell apart and moved away from each other, the space expanded with them and the energy was distributed so that there would be gaps between light and energy. The galaxies were not moving in one direction. They moved at all directions but away from the center. The speed should have been higher as they were forming. There is one thing about the galaxies; they are massive bodies of mass. When there are two bodies of mass separated by distance, there comes the gravity. Once these massive bodies started forming, they should have pulled each other together. Since there were galaxies flying in all directions, the collective force of gravity would pull everything towards that center of the universe; but there is no need for a mass to be in the center. When all the galaxies are travelling away from each but then excerpting a pull towards the center, the only anticipated result is that they will all slow down. At one point, they will all stop from falling apart from each other and start coming back to the center.
This gives a conceptual physical boundary to the universe. There definitely should be a physical boundary to the universe. And by the way, since mass formed it has been excerpting gravity, the only form that the universe could have taken is spherical. We can only speak about shapes when we consider only the physical elements of the universe. The physical universe in the beginning should have been perfectly spherical and would have remained closely spherical all over the process. It will become perfectly spherical again when it hits its boundaries where the gravitational pull makes the masses stop travelling away in opposite directions. Once it gets perfectly spherical, then it will start shrinking back again. So what caused the last big bang? It might have been a big crunch the ended the universe before us. And the universe could be recycling again and again over given periods of time; recycling everything including time.
When the universe hits the maximum point of expansion or anywhere near there the light from the youngest forming stars would start travelling towards the earth. Let’s say a star with the maximum life span was formed there, and then the last light from the star would reach the earth in double the time of the lifespan of the star. So the distance to that star would be the so many years but into light years. As in my example above, if the maximum lifetime of the star was 1000 billion years, then the maximum distance of the star from earth would be 2000 billion light years. But what if the star moved beyond 2000 billion light years?
It could have, but if we are receiving light from a star that is more than 2000 billion light years away from us, then at the time when we first saw the star, the star was not there. It is dead and gone 1000 billion years ago. If we take the maximum lifespan of a star as 1000 billion years then everything that appears to be coming beyond 2000 billion years disappeared 1000 billion years ago.
What if there are stars beyond 2000 billion years away from us and we haven’t started to see their light yet? It is possible, but if it had happened, that will mean that universe had expanded beyond 2000 billion light years into the space. The fact that we are now seeing disintegrating stars billions of light years away means that they did so billions of years ago. Like how all the matter became into existence simultaneously, all the matter will hit the edge of the ages simultaneously and will start collapsing simultaneously. Simultaneous in the vast measurement of the universe would be a few million years. All the stars in the universe should have formed within a few million years of time frame and then star formation should have ceased. There cannot be new stars forming; not when the universe is expanding because the energy and matter consisted in the universe came from a single source; the big bang. The universe is not indefinite; it has a definite amount of ingredients. We only think it is infinite because we haven’t measured everything in it. We probably might not be able to measure everything completely at all.
The fact that we are seeing collapsing stars means that the process has begun. When the stars started collapsing, it means there is no more star formation. There cannot be any stars forming beyond 2000 billion light years away from us (if we consider 1000 billion years as the maximum lifespan of a star). Since we have started seeing the collapsing stars, there have been at least a few stars that have been through their life spans. This means we shouldn’t be receiving light anywhere away from twice the lifespan of the longest living star in light years that shows a star formation. If we did receive one, then that light has probably travelled around the universe before hitting us.
Another way to calculate the physical boundaries of the universe would be consider the maximum speed the galaxies could travel and the gravitational pull between them. If we consider that the galaxies started to fall apart at the speed of light, and then calculate the gravitational pull between two galaxies separated by 2000 billion years, which would be the least pull, then you can see at which point, the galaxies would cease to move apart. This will give the exact boundary where the universe will cease to expand. I am afraid that it will be the longest lifespan of a star.