Note: The theories in this article are based on original thoughts of the author, except for those ideas attributed to others, including Dr. Wetterich. The author does not know if these concepts have any validity, but he is hoping to inspire scientists to think outside their current box of theories. New perspectives may lead to new discoveries. Perhaps subjective inferences will have more value than what our weak sensory perceptions can uncover. The author hopes to get others to think and perhaps even to think differently.
The majority of cosmologists believe our universe is expanding at increasing speeds. This theory is supported by the “red shift” discovered by Edwin Hubbell. In effect, inflation and the Big Bang theories explained the shift to the red, the lower frequency part of the spectrum, for light emitted from galaxies.
The red shift was found to be greater for the more distant galaxies. They are estimated to be traveling about 90% of the speed of light away from us. Hubbell and most modern cosmologists believed this proved that the universe was expanding at accelerating speeds. But this acceleration cannot be explained by gravity, which would predict a decrease in expansion over time.
Jeffrey Kluger, in the March 31, 2014, edition of Time magazine, reported that John Kovac’s team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recently discovered a distortion in the microwave radiation that permeates our universe “like seeing ripples in a pond” probably caused by the Big Bang, producing Einstein’s predicted gravitational waves in an inflationary universe. But just because about 13.8 billion years ago, a primal explosion which expelled matter and energy faster than the speed of light caused these ripples in Einstein’s cosmic fabric of time and space, does not rule out another event that could have reversed the expansion.
Many cosmologists believe that dark matter is responsible for holding galaxies, clusters, super clusters, and filaments together within our universe. But cosmologists look to dark energy to explain what is happening among the galaxies; however, this mysterious force is not a perfect fit for the inflationary theory. With inflation speed lagging behind light speed, how can we expect to see the Big Bang or the earliest galaxies dating back over 12 billion years? If the expanding universe is going slower than the speed of light (based on Einstein’s theories) would not the light from ancient galaxies have raced by us billions of years ago, never to be seen again?
A new theory of cosmology may be in order. Christof Wetterich, a physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, believes that the universe may be shrinking. In his paper, A Universe without Expansion, he discussed a new theory “where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods”. He argued that the red shift also could be explained by a shrinking universe.
He wrote: ”Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable. The cosmological increase of this ratio would also be attributed to shrinking atoms.” He noted that the light emitted by atoms was also determined by masses of the elementary particles, including electrons. If the mass of an atom decreased, its frequency would be red-shifted.
Wetterich’s shrinking universe did not negate the expansion of the universe during a short inflationary period. But under his theory, the Big Bang no longer was a ‘singularity’ where the density of the universe would be infinite. What could explain an infinite period of time without a singularity? One theory might be that the combination of expansion from the Big Bang and contraction into the Big Crunch would alternate back and forth forever. See “Section I – Is Our Universe Shrinking?”
However, Wetterich’s theory cannot be tested. Mass can be measured only relative to something else. For example, scientists compare any mass being measured relative to a kilogram standard in a vault in Paris. If the mass in our universe were shrinking proportionally, there may be no way to prove it. But an interesting theory may lay hidden in the galaxies that we can see in the universe.
It is not likely that we will ever understand the mysteries of our universe. Part of the problem is our lack of information and perspective. We may have a better chance of understanding the cosmos through deductions than following our sensory perceptions.
Bernardino Telesio, a philosopher who emphasized a deductive approach in the 16th century, was ahead of his time when he declared that all matter was created by God and remained constant, predating the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Matter. Many of Telesio’s theories, one of which was that heat and cold were the two primary forces on matter, have been disproven. But Telesio indicated that all objects in the universe were the result of either expansion or contraction of matter. It is an interesting concept that has not been disproven and will be further analyzed in this article.
Section I – Is Our Universe Shrinking?
There are two major and two minor evidentiary matters that might prove that our universe is shrinking?
First. The “smudgy-red” galaxies that we can see in deep space are anywhere from 12 to 13 billion years old. The light from those galaxies, which no longer exists, could have been traveling about 13 billion years to reach us. But this primordial matter would have been traveling much less than the speed of light probably for the last 13 billion years, and the earliest generations of stars in the Milky Way galaxy would have been traveling for about 13.2 billion years. Wouldn’t the light from the extinct galaxies have zipped past us perhaps billions of years ago? So, how can we see these ancient galaxies?
This is a difficult question only if all matter has been constantly expanding in an open universe. What if the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.8 billion years ago, caused an early rapid expansion, perhaps even exceeding the speed of light at Planck’s speed. Then as things cooled off, matter formed and slowed things down very quickly, since gravity is a very weak force. The early Planck expansion could have been caused by the annihilation of matter by antimatter. Fortunately, there was about 1 extra particle of matter for every billion particles of both matter and antimatter. We know that the expansion slowed down below the speed of light and may have continued to decrease in speed through entropy as gravity lost its control. There are many unknowns, but if this is a closed universe, we might infer that we could see the ancient stars and galaxies from either reversals or compaction within the boundaries of the universe.
Dark matter could have maintained a constant proportionality among the surviving visible matter, while the dark energy which accounts for approximately 73% of the universe could have started a shrinking effect so that the galaxies would have bounced back toward their original source, where the Big Bang occurred. Could time stop like scientists predict will occur at the event horizon and then reverse itself, similar to magnetic polarity reversals, so that the light from extinct galaxies could be seen again? Could the entropy of expanding matter be turned into contracting dark energy? The dark energy could be shrinking the atoms of the visible universe. Admittedly, this sounds a bit preposterous; however, it does offer an interesting explanation.
There are unexplained anomalies in the microwave background radiation’s explanation of a constantly expanding universe. For example, the quadrupole and octupole modes align with each other in both the ecliptic plane and at equinoxes, which is sometimes called the “axis of evil.” It is important to keep an open mind on potential reversals in the space-time fabric. The cosmic radiation that was detected in all directions should be distributed evenly under the Big Bang theory, but it is not. There are anomalies and an unevenness which may be explained by a time reversal.
Another point is that discovering the microwave background radiation does not seem probable with a constantly expanding universe, heading toward empty space in an open system. The background noise of the Big Bang discovered in 1963 by Penzias and Wilson could not be heard because the speed of sound would be much less than the speed of acceleration of our galaxy. And any light and radiation from the Big Bang would have been too fast to be seen today. However, it might be heard and seen if we were in a closed universe.
Another theory is that time is an ellipse, rather than a straight line. First, think of the expanding universe as being on a straight racetrack. All the mass and energy would line up at the starting line and take off at the firing of the Big Bang, rushing toward the finish line. The light emitted from the stars would soon be far ahead of the mass and energy hurtling away from the Big Bang’s start because the mass and energy could not maintain the speed of light after slowing down from the early Planck speed expansion. Now, if the racetrack were oval, there might be some interesting possibilities that could account for us viewing the distant galaxies. Instead of time reversing, it would connect with itself. However, this theory is problematic because the light from the distant stars and clusters would be seen sporadically as their light lapped our expansion point on the oval track. So there may be no good answer as to why we see antique starlight but for a closed, contracting universe.
Second. And there is a second primary reason to believe that the universe is shrinking. Our universe is thought to be interconnected and very homogeneous. See “Section V, Subsection L.” This could only be true if we were moving from a disorderly state to an orderly state. In other words, this could be explained if the period of expansion were now in a period of contraction.
The natural course of events is to go from an orderly to a disorderly (higher entropy) state. The Big Bang and the rapid expansion thereafter was a high entropy period. As the expansion continued, entropy should have caused the universe to become very disorderly and the speed of acceleration should have decreased. Since most of the galaxies are expanding away from each other at increasing speeds, we must find a theory other than expansion.
If an existing state is very orderly or homogeneous, then it is in a lower entropy state. That is the case of our picture of the universe today. Our universe could easily be described as similar to a living organism that has uniform connecting membranes scattered throughout its system. It is unusually homogeneous for being a product of an explosion, scattering it in all directions. So, is it more likely that the short period of acceleration stopped and a contraction phase started? This contraction could explain the current homogeneity in our universe as the matter consolidated and reformed.
Some scientists might look for analogies within the universe. So, let’s consider the conversion of matter to energy in the sun. Currently, the amount of hydrogen in the sun is about 70%, helium is 28%, and the other elements are 2%. We know this will change as the sun converts more hydrogen into helium and eventually into heavier elements. The amount of hydrogen in the universe is about 75%, helium is 23%, and the other elements are 2%. This percentage is eerily similar to the amount of dark energy in the universe which is about 73%, dark matter is 23%, and other matter is 4%. See “Section II – The Missing 96%.”
What if dark energy were consuming matter within our observable universe similar to the fusion activity within the sun? If this were true, this could explain the red shift without the troublesome singularity. If galaxies were being contracted by dark energy, they would remain proportional as to each other because the decrease in size would be consistent throughout the universe. The interconnected matter within our universe could be shrinking equally, so we may not visually notice the change.
We might infer that dark matter increases from contraction of the visible universe while hydrogen decreases from contraction of the stars. Think of the conversion to energy by dark matter as more like fission as compared to fusion of the sun. However, we do not know that dark energy is a result of fission. We don’t even know for certain that dark energy is energy. We simply do not know what it is. It is like putting a jig saw puzzle together which has big pieces missing. You cannot see the missing pieces, but you can sometimes determine what they might look like based on the openings formed by the pieces of the puzzle that you have positioned in place.
The sun may be about half way through its life. Could the percentage of about 70% be the middle point for both the sun and the universe’s contraction stage? Would the last stages consume matter exponentially in a runaway compaction?
The universe may have expanded rapidly until gravity lost out to dark energy. The expansion period probably was for a short period. The expansion more than likely stopped billions of years before our sun and solar system were formed. If this were true, we could be deep into a contraction period now, perhaps over half way through it.
The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics are minor theories that provide some evidence that our universe is collapsing rather than expanding. Most scientists believe that since the Big Bang, our universe has been expanding. The red shift indicated that galaxies were moving away from each other at an increasing speed; therefore, scientists continued with the same line of thinking arguing that the expansion was increasing so that one day, we would be sitting in deep space with no neighboring galaxies, in effect, lost in space.
It is interesting that scientists get so stuck on a theory, like expansion, that when they find evidence that disproves that theory, they simply make the old theory work by forcing the new piece into the theory. So without any logic being utilized, the expansion, which should be slowing down, is accelerating.
This brings us to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the science of entropy. A simple definition for entropy is that everything in the universe goes from order to disorder. For example if you fired a cannon, the ball would explode out of the rifled channel in a rapid burst of speed only to slow down and either strike a target or land on the ground as its trajectory fell. In our universe, there is no law that indicates that the cannon ball will increase in speed after being fired. In the early moments after the Big Bang, the universe probably expanded faster than the speed of light. We know that it slowed down after that. Entropy indicates that the expansion slowed down substantially as our universe got further away from the original event.
Scientists believe in the “arrow of time,” following the same theory of entropy. In other words, time can only travel in one direction, always leading toward higher entropy. These scientists believe that the universe will expand until all the stars die off and everything will be dark and cold. But can time reverse itself? Are these arrows of time going forward or backward?
Entropy probably can exist in both open and closed universes, but it logically could not be an ending in a closed universe. See “Section IV – Closed or Open Universe.” Entropy may lead to a new beginning where a stronger force takes over. This may be analogous to extinctions, which do not lead to an end of life, but might lead to new forms of life adapting to the new environment. Entropy might initially go from matter to energy and quite possibly evolve from expanding matter to contracting into dark energy.
In another parallel, larger stars, through entropy, may become dark matter. It is possible that all matter eventually becomes dark energy. Both dark matter and dark energy might feed on the visible universe. Some scientists believe that time stops at the event horizon located at the edge of a black hole, so it seems logical that time can stop and could reverse itself as a contraction process started.
But I believe the First Law of Thermodynamics is the most important law that may prove that our universe is shrinking. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the change in the internal energy of a closed system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work done by the system. This law is a version of the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant. Energy can be transformed, but can neither be created nor destroyed.
In a closed universe, the law of conservation of matter (mass) and energy means that all matter and energy within our universe can neither be created nor destroyed. In effect, the Creator had to create our universe outside the edges of our universe. Since our universe looks like a cell with interconnected filaments, there could be other universes that combine with ours to form a mega-universe. Since we cannot see beyond the boundary of our universe, nobody will ever know.
Matter may be converted to energy and energy may transform into matter, but the total amount of matter and energy in our universe would remain constant. This transformation from one form to another may be the mechanism that allows our universe to run infinitely. We understand that a circle is representative of a form that permits an infinite pattern of repetition. Think of our closed universe as like a balloon expanding to a point and then contracting back again in a perpetual motion machine for our universe. It is quite possible that dark energy in our universe is increasing in strength as more matter may be turning into this strange form.
Mathematical formulas indicate that this poorly understood force called dark energy currently accounts for about 73% of our universe. If dark matter and the 4% of the visible universe were being converted into dark energy, wouldn’t the percentages change over time? Not necessarily from our perspective. In fact, it is quite possible that the percentages we calculate have remained fairly constant since the Big Bang. How can this be? Well, quite frankly, we don’t know. Again, it may be a question of perspective. Our percentages calculated primarily through mathematics may be biased by our perception of the events. Furthermore, there could be some imprint in our universe, similar to DNA, that keeps everything in balance.
If dark energy were able to convert matter into itself, we might expect that the matter within our universe (solar systems, galaxies, clusters, filaments, clouds of interstellar dust, and dark matter) could be shrinking. If the downsizing of matter were consistent, then galaxies would appear to be the same size, but would reflect a red shift as they pulled away from each other. The only exceptions would be the galaxies that are so close to each other that gravity would draw them together. This same perception of remaining the same size could also translate into remaining the same percentages.
What does all this mean? Well, if you believe our universe is in a closed system, then all matter and energy within our universe cannot be created or destroyed. Thus, no matter how many new stars are born and no matter how many stars have exploded into supernovas, the total of matter and energy in our universe will always be the same.
How does this apply to proving whether our universe is expanding or contracting? Well, a continually expanding universe seems to require an open system, one in which the expansion can move into an infinite space that has no boundaries. If you examine the maps of our universe, the galaxies and clouds of gas appear to connect, forming interconnected filaments in a very homogenous state. In fact, the universe looks like it is a living organism suspended in a confined space like connected algae in a petri dish. It does not look like a universe that is disconnected headed toward empty spaces. Rather instead, it seems to be a smooth universe that is very connected.
Thus, it seems logical that in a closed universe, the red shift could be explained if our universe were collapsing. If the visible matter and dark matter in our universe remained proportional to each other, but were collapsing, the galaxies would be shrinking and thus would be appearing to move away from each other. And if dark energy were causing this miniaturization process, it would become more pronounced as the dark energy grew and the collapse would be accelerating.
Perhaps it comes down to whether scientists believe in an open or closed universe. If our universe were expanding forever into deep space, sometimes called the “Big Freeze,” then we might be living in an open universe. However, there seems to be a preponderance of the evidence proving that this is a closed universe.
In conclusion, a closed universe initially could have an expansion, followed by a contraction. After the Big Bang and early expansion, entropy would have caused the expansion to stop and then reverse itself into a collapsing universe. This might be compared to a collapsing star that expands into a red giant and then reverses direction and collapses on itself under the weight of its own gravity.
An open universe may be required in order to have an expanding universe into infinity. In a closed universe, total matter and energy would remain the same, but dark energy probably would be the force transforming the visible and dark matter into possibly more dark energy, thus causing an acceleration of this process. In a closed universe with edges, a spatial expansion would be limited. However, an expanding and collapsing universe, acting like an inflated and then a deflated balloon would make more sense. I hope that scientists give this idea some consideration in the future.
Section II – The Missing 96%
Scientists indicate that only 4% of the mass and energy in the universe is visible. They infer the other 96% based on gravitational influence on the visible universe. In other words, they calculate its existence using math to fill in the gaps.
What is this missing 96%? Well, typically about 73% of the missing universe is called dark energy and about 23% of the universe is called dark matter.
Richard Panek’s new book, “The 4 Percent Universe,” explains how dark matter and dark energy were discovered. Logically, the outermost stars of a galaxy would orbit more slowly than those stars closer to the center. However, all the stars in a galaxy, no matter where they were located, circled the super massive black hole in the center of the galaxy at roughly the same speed. If there were no dark matter and dark energy, the galaxies would be breaking apart.
Using models, scientists proved that a galaxy including only the visible portion (stars, planets, comets, asteroids, gas clouds, etc.) would disintegrate very quickly. It takes a mass and energy force of about six times that of the visible portion to keep it intact. That would match the approximate 23% deemed to be dark matter.
But what is dark matter? A popular theory is that dark matter consists of exotic particles that don’t interact with regular matter, or even light, and so are invisible. Yet their mass exerts a gravitational pull, just like normal matter, which is why they affect the velocities of stars and other phenomena in the universe. However, try as hard as they might, scientists have yet to detect any of these particles, even with tests designed specifically to target their predicted properties. Still, some scientists hope that experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Geneva may solve the riddle.
But what is dark energy? Dark energy appears to be even more elusive than dark matter. It was discovered about 20 years ago when two teams of researchers were trying to figure out if the universe would keep spreading out forever or if it would eventually turn on itself in a “Big Crunch.” Scientists measured the velocities of supernovas to determine how fast they were moving away from us. They found out that the universe was accelerating its expansion. This didn’t make sense since the gravity of the visible mass should have been slowing down the expansion. There was a powerful force at work that was counteracting the force of gravity, causing the visible universe to accelerate. They called this force dark energy.
You might imagine that galaxies, galaxy clusters, and dust clouds look like filaments strung together like nerves inside the muscle mass of our bodies. The 4% visible universe added to the 23%, consisting of black holes and supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies might form the structure of those filaments, while the muscle mass could be equated to the dark energy that holds the nerves in place. In other words, dark energy could be all around us and perhaps inside us, holding everything that we know together like universal glue. It may be similar to Einstein’s space-time fabric, except it might be considered to be the dark-light fabric, including dark energy, dark matter, and our visible universe all locked together in one universal fabric.
If most galaxies are rapidly moving away from each other, then are they expanding or contracting? This is a fair question because either expansion or shrinking would cause the galaxies to appear to be moving away from each other. If the galaxies were uniformly impacted by a dark energy that caused them to decrease in size, they would appear to be distancing themselves from each other just the same as if they were pushing away from each other.
So, which is more likely? If expansion were going on, it would be similar to inflating a balloon and watching the galaxies move away from each other. But an increasing rate of expansion would be likely only if the majority of the dark energy were in the space uninhabited by our visible universe, drawing it toward it as it got closer to a huge reservoir of that dark energy. Of course, dark energy also could be repelling the visible universe. But whether it is pushing or pulling, it is only movement causing a repositioning of the visible universe.
However, the universe appears to be very consistent. In other words, a rapid acceleration caused either by the push or pull of dark energy would have disrupted the homogeneous universe, stretching everything apart. As the galaxies distanced themselves from each other, the dark energy might fill in the empty space, but this probably would dilute the effect on the expanding galaxies. In effect, if the dark energy were also stretched to fill in the void, there would be less of it to push or pull the visible universe. Our visible universe should be decelerating in speed.
But a contraction of our visible universe would simply make the same consistent universe smaller. In other words, the matrix of the visible universe would remain uniform. As between two galaxies, they would appear to be moving away from each other, but rather instead, they would be decreasing in size. All matter in the galaxies, including the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, may be decreasing in size equally. As a general rule, everything within the galaxy would remain the same as to each other. However, black holes would continue to feed on other matter in the galaxies, and some galaxies would continue to merge into neighboring galaxies like Andromeda and the Milky Way.
The law of conservation of mass and energy states that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe must remain constant. So if the visible universe were shrinking, dark energy should be increasing. The reduction in size of galaxies should cause a transformation to increase the percentage of dark energy. In effect, over billions of years, the 4% of our visible universe should have been a higher percentage at the time of the Big Bang. It is uncertain whether the ratios are remaining the same over the years or if the changes are small and glacial.
The greatest disparity between the ratios of dark energy/dark matter/visible matter and of hydrogen/helium/other elements in our sun is the 4% of visible matter compared to the 2% of other elements. However, other elements in our sun do not include all the elements in the universe, so it is not surprising that the other elements in the universe are closer to 4%. The ratios of matter and energy within our universe are almost identical when you consider the rounding issues and possibilities of error in the calculations.
The universe’s ratio of hydrogen is about 74%, helium about 22%, and the rest of the elements about 4%. It may not be a coincidence that it is about the same ratio as dark energy to dark matter to the visible universe. As hydrogen burns, it is fused into helium, and subsequently into other elements. However, some scientists also believe that this ratio has remained fairly constant since the Big Bang. The Big Bang created primarily hydrogen and helium, so that all the other elements, currently 4% of the total, had to be formed later from the death of stars.
So what is going on that these ratios do not change that much? As I stated earlier, we do not know. The 74% hydrogen and 22% helium abundances that exist throughout the universe today come from that condensation period during the first three minutes after the Big Bang. But there may be some imprint pattern on our universe like DNA that locks us into these similar ratios. There are localized transformations of mass to energy and other mass, so that our sun is definitely losing its supply of hydrogen, turning it into helium, energy, and other elements. And local galaxies may also be losing their mass, turning it into dark matter or dark energy. In effect, transformations may not be significant throughout our universe, leaving the percentages generally unaffected.
However, the invisible 96% of our universe (dark matter and energy) may consume the visible portion of the universe. In effect, this could cause an acceleration of the shrinking of local galaxies, which is exactly what we see in the red shift among galaxies.
In the next section, we will analyze the theories as to why the ratios of mass and energy, which clearly transfer back and forth, may not change significantly in the universe.
Section III – Coincidental Percentages?
The percentages of the elements in the sun and the types of matter/energy in the universe are strikingly similar. But the ratios of elements in the universe appear to be almost identical to dark energy/dark matter. Yet, scientists have not studied this comparison. Is this just a coincidence? Are there similar forces working in our universe so that the percentages are similar? Compare the 74% of hydrogen in the universe with about 73% dark energy. Compare the 22% helium in the universe with the 23% of dark matter. Compare the 4% of other elements in the universe with the 4% of visible matter. Are these percentages coincidental or is this further proof of homogeneity in the universe? Is there a universal imprint, perhaps dark energy itself, which keeps everything equally balanced?
Subsection A – Conservation of Ratios
Scientists are very familiar with the law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, which in a nutshell means that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe will always remain the same. But mass can convert to energy and energy can transform back to mass. The fusion activity on our sun is a conversion of mass to energy. When high-energy gamma rays strike the heavy nucleus of an atom, some of the kinetic energy is converted into an electron-positron pair. However, do the ratios of mass and energy in the universe remain the same? We do not know.
Scientists believe that the ratio of hydrogen to the remaining matter, which is about 72%, has been about that percentage since the Big Bang. In other words, there may be a conservation of the percentage of hydrogen in the universe. Even though many stars are burning their hydrogen supply, is there a counterweight force within the universe following a universal ratio? Are dark matter, including the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, and dark energy the regulating forces that keeps the universe in balance? And is there a similar balancing force that conserves the ratios of mass to energy?
Dark energy is a recent concept developed to explain the missing part of the universe inferred through mathematics. Dark energy may be Einstein’s “cosmological constant” describing the intrinsic expansive energy associated with a vacuum. The amount of dark energy would be directly dependent upon the volume taken up by vacuum in the universe. This would mean that as the universe expanded, dark energy would become more abundant. If dark energy were a repulsive force, an increase in would lead to an acceleration in the universe’s expansion, which seems to be supported by the “red shift” first detected by Hubbell.
However, scientists are reluctant to entertain ideas that are outside the standard box. Well, let’s examine a new perspective. There is evidence to clearly support the original expansion caused by the Big Bang, but the law of entropy shows that the expansion should have eventually slowed down. The red shift showing acceleration could also be explained by a shrinking universe. If the galaxies remained proportional to each other with the same degree of contraction, they would pull away from each other, thus causing a red shift, which could not be visually detected.
Most cosmologists believe that our universe is expanding at increasing speeds headed into a dark corner of the universe with no other galaxies in sight. But this infinite universe does not comport with the theory of a closed universe. Since the total amount of mass and energy in our universe remains constant, this seems to comport with a closed universe. Also, the big picture of our universe appears to be large filaments of mass held together by dark energy. It looks more like nerves threading through a live animal. In other words, our universe appears to have edges that form a container for the total mass and energy. Further, there is a consistency within our universe that seems to be housed by boundaries.
So, does the ratio between mass and energy remain the same? We simply do not know. More studies must be undertaken. But if dark energy were the primary force in either expansion or contraction of the mass, it might grow in strength in order to account for the acceleration of either repelling or compressing the mass. If dark energy accelerated its pushing of the mass, the energy probably would have to expand in order to fill the vacuum left by the missing matter. On the other hand, if dark energy caused the mass to shrink, it might have to increase its percentage of the remaining universe.
There may be a parallel in the growth between dark energy and dark matter. We have discovered supermassive black holes that are over ten billion times larger than our sun. The prior explanations for the growth of black holes cannot explain this gargantuan black hole. However, if the dark matter is replacing a visible matter that is shrinking, it could be growing exponentially. There may be some evidence that dark matter and visible matter are interconnected in the universal web, so that the shrinking of the visible may transfer directly to the dark matter, causing it to grow.
Scientists using data collected by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope have found that quasars are grouped together in large filaments throughout the universe as if they were linked. Many of the quasars’ rotation axes were aligned with each other, despite the fact that these quasars are separated by billions of light-years. The rotation of these filaments seems to be universal as if they were all connected.
If dark matter and visible matter were connected, then they could be part of a unified structure of mass within our universe that will be just like interconnected cells in our bodies. Cells will die, but then they are replaced. These webs of galaxy clusters look like nerves in muscle tissue. The dark energy, representing the muscle tissue, could surround and support the mass.
The dark energy also could be growing as it feeds on the mass within our universe which may be either expanding or contracting. If our universe is closed, it makes more sense that the universe is shrinking, probably headed back to the original Big Bang. We might call it the Big Crunch. And this might form a perpetual time machine that alternates from the expansion of the Big Bang to the contraction of the Big Crunch and then back to the expansion again.
Subsection B – Birth, Expansion, Collapse, and Death of Stars
The event of changing from expansion to contraction must have occurred sometime during the 13.8 billion years. Our solar system and earth may have been in the contraction phase since their inception.
Could there also be a parallel in the ending for the universe just like the sun? In other words, could the death of the sun as it consumes the last of its hydrogen be an example of the same fate for our universe? If that is true, then we could visualize multiple Big Crunches and Big Bangs, alternating back and forth, much like the suns exploding in supernovas and then accumulating and being born again as stars. This would also eliminate the singularity problem in the Big Bang theory.
There are many mysteries of the universe, but sometimes we can use analogies to develop theories that may explain the workings of our universe. For example, the life cycle of stars may help us understand the life cycle of the universe.
Stars are born similar to the Big Bang which created our universe. Perhaps the expansion of stars as they become red giants and then the collapse of stars as they become white dwarfs, leading up to the death called a supernova, may provide some insight as to how our universe will evolve from the Big Bang.
There are two laws of thermodynamics that apply to stars and may also apply to the entire universe. The First Law of Thermodynamics is a version of the law of conservation of energy, which states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant. Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. Thus it can be said that the total amount of mass and energy is constant in our closed universe.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that there is an increase in the sum of the entropies of the participating systems. This may sound like a simple law, but it is complex in its application. For example, if you fire a rifle, the bullet will eventually decrease in speed and the bullet will feel the effects of gravity as it is pulled toward earth. Its trajectory and speed will deteriorate over time. So if we start with a Big Bang, then we should expect that over a period of time that the speed of the expansion from the creative event will start to slow down. The expansive period will deteriorate as it gets further from its origin.
Does this same entropy occur with the lives of stars? Stars are born in an explosive environment much like the Big Bang and then expand into a large burning gaseous body. Next they go through a feeding stage where they burn much of their hydrogen, converting it to helium. Then, if the stars are large enough, they will expand into red giants. When the stars have run out of hydrogen fuel to fuse into helium within their cores, the cores will begin to collapse and heat some more.
In order to counter the cores’ collapse, the outer envelopes expand causing the temperature to drop at the surfaces, but also increasing surface area and thereby the luminosity of the stars. Within the cores, temperatures will rise to begin fusion of helium into carbon. The shells around the cores will rise to such a temperature so as to ignite further hydrogen fusion in that region of the stars. The helium produced falls into the cores where it can be used as fuel. Helium is fused into carbon and oxygen. This time in the life of red giants, only a few million years, is short when compared to the billions of years for their full lives. The expansion period of stars seems to mirror that of the expansion of the universe. Eventually the red giant stops its expansion due to entropy.
So what about the First Law of Thermodynamics? How does that factor into the life cycles of stars and the universe? Well, stars are initially converting mass (hydrogen) into other mass (helium) and energy. The total amount of matter and energy remains the same during this process, so there is neither creation nor destruction of the total during fusion within the stars. But there are transformations, which create new elements. The same probably is true for visible matter and dark matter and dark energy. They may transfer from one form to another, but the total amount within the universe remains constant.
It is possible that visible matter is converted into dark matter and dark energy, thus causing the shrinking effect of our visible universe. After our universe expanded, entropy caused it to slow down, allowing dark energy to transform the matter into energy, making it contract. The red shift detected between galaxies can be explained by the shrinking galaxies, pulling away from each other as they decrease in size. The red shift could also be explained by an ever increasing expanding universe, but this is not likely because of entropy and the fact that the matter in our universe is very uniform. It is more likely that all the matter has remained proportional since the early expansion from the Big Bang.
Later in life, the red giants will collapse into white dwarfs. White dwarfs are thought to be the final stage of all stars whose mass is not high enough to become a neutron star—over 97% of the stars in the Milky Way. After shedding their outer layers, they will leave behind cores, which form the remnant white dwarfs. Usually, white dwarfs are composed of carbon and oxygen. If the mass is between 8 and 10.5 solar masses, the core temperature is sufficient to fuse carbon but not neon, in which case an oxygen-neon–magnesium white dwarf may be formed.
The material in white dwarfs no longer undergo fusion reactions, so the stars have no source of energy, nor are they supported by the heat generated by fusion against gravitational collapse. They are supported only by electron degeneracy pressure, causing them to be extremely dense. The physics of degeneracy yields a maximum mass for a non-rotating white dwarf, beyond which it cannot be supported by electron degeneracy pressure. A carbon-oxygen white dwarf that approaches this mass limit, typically by mass transfer from a companion star, may explode as a supernova in a process known as carbon detonation.
The universe itself may follow this pattern of first expansion, then collapsing in the Big Crunch until it reaches a point of detonation or another Big Bang.
Section IV – Closed or Open Universe
Our universe is either closed or open. If it is closed, it has a boundary, but not necessarily a separating line or ending location. It could be a separating event. If it is open, it has no edges or boundaries. Many cosmologists believe that the universe is open and will continue its expansion forever as a result of insufficient gravitational attraction of mass to halt that expansion. This comports with the Big Bang expansion theory. However, cosmologists may find the closed universe theory more compelling since it offers a new perspective.
The typical explanation of a closed universe is that it has boundaries just like a circle. In a closed universe, there would be a Big Bang causing matter to expand and then dark energy might cause the universe to collapse into a Big Crunch. However, if the limit of our closed universe were an event, then the shape of the universe would be unlike anything we know on earth. For example, the Big Bang could have started the expansion which could have continued on until an event when dark energy reversed this process, causing a contraction.
If our universe were expanding forever into deep space, sometimes called the “Big Freeze,” then we would be living in an open universe. Is there any evidence proving that this is a closed universe since that seems to be a minority opinion?
There might be six arguments that favor a closed system.
- There are clear boundaries between the macroworld of gravity and the microworld of quantum mechanics. Boundaries between these two universes are obvious because the laws of gravity do not apply in the quantum world. And demarcation lines prove closures exist.
- The Big Bang theory proves that our universe broke out of a shell as if it broke through a boundary and popped into a closed universe. We should not expect to see beyond the Big Bang because it probably is not in our universe. The “Big Freeze” theory does not make sense since our universe is expanding at increasing speeds. Clearly, if our universe were headed out into an infinite open space, it would be slowing down. Also if you believe that dark energy is pulling both visible matter and dark matter out into voids of empty space away from where matter is located, then it would be logical for dark energy to be located outside of the inner orbiting sphere of matter. The new models of our universe show everything to be interconnected.Furthermore, if we were headed into a “Big Freeze.” there would be some evidence of stretching of matter, especially in areas where galaxies are traveling about 90% of the speed of light, which would be assumed to be the outer edge of the sphere of matter. Scientists have not found that to be true. The maps of the universe seem to show filaments, super clusters, clusters, and galaxies pretty uniformly positioned throughout the sphere of matter. It seems more likely that dark energy is a force pulling all matter inside itself. The map of the sphere of matter would look the same and remain proportionally the same, since dark matter may hold it together.Interestingly, the outermost solar systems in galaxies are moving around the center of the galaxies at the same speed as the inner systems. We would expect the systems near the edge of the galaxy to slow down since the gravitational attraction of the super-massive black holes in the center of the galaxies would decrease. Dark matter probably is the glue holding galaxies and clusters and filaments together throughout the universe, keeping the visible matter proportional. Dark matter is also evidence of a closed system that keeps all matter inside the system.
If we were in an open system, it is unlikely we would be able to view ancient galaxies since the light from those systems would have sped past us billions of years ago. We would only be able to see a few galaxies like Andromeda, which is speeding toward us. The speed of light from those old galaxies would be faster than the speed of acceleration. However, we do see ancient galaxies, which may be explained by a current contraction within our universe so that we are headed back in time to those old events. We may never be able to see the Big Bang, but only the results of it.
- There is an invisible order in our universe, which would not exist in an open system. It could be dark energy or the original imprint from the creation of the galaxy, but for the purposes of our argument, it doesn’t matter what you call it. We just know that it exists. The dark energy could be shrinking matter at increasing speeds. If the dark energy were pushing everything away from it, the outer galaxies would be slowing down. They are actually speeding up. So it is logical that dark energy is causing a contraction of the universe. This would also be evidence of a closed system that alternates back and forth between the Big Bang and the Big Crunch.
- In an open system, entropy would be the rule as everything slowed down, failed, disintegrated, and came to a final, frozen end. In a closed system, there probably would be an order and design imprinted on galaxies and everything else in the universe. Of course, entropy also may exist in a closed universe, but it should be offset by order and design, so that a perpetual system of alternations between the Big Bang and Big Crunch would work very well in a closed system.
- Hearing the microwave background radiation (MBR) seems unlikely with a constantly expanding universe, heading out into an open universe. The microwave radiation appears to be spread out everywhere, which only makes sense within a closed universe. The radiation, which comes close to the speed of light, would have surpassed the speed of acceleration, leaving all matter from the Big Bang far behind in an open universe. It appears that only a closed universe would permit the MBR to saturate the universe. A reversal within the space-time fabric might allow the MBR to be heard.
Section V – Ancillary Discussions on a Closed Universe
Even though I believe this is a closed universe, there are some additional discussions that may lead to that conclusion.
Subsection A – Was Our Universe Created?
All the questions about our universe and our lives in this universe can be boiled down to: was our universe created? If it were created, then there are many things beyond our universe that we can only imagine, but one of which was the mystery of our creation outside our universe. The Big Bang would only be the manifestation of what happened as the created matter and energy entered our universe. But the creation, itself, would have been outside our universe. In other words if our universe were created, this would have to be a closed universe.
If you believe that there never was a creation, then there can never be a termination either. In effect, our universe would be infinitely churning matter and energy through a recycling process. All matter and energy within our universe could be transformed from matter to energy and vice versa, but never could be destroyed. This is the law of conservation of matter and energy, which means that the total amount of mass and energy in our universe would always be the same.
Creation, if it happened, could have only occurred outside our universe. In order for there to be a creation, our universe must have a boundary, so that the creation can develop outside our universe. We might be saying that if there is no creation, then there is no limit to our universe. For example inflation of the universe could continue until all the galaxies and eventually stars were isolated by themselves enveloped in darkness as the distance between stars increased over time. I don’t know how non-creationists could believe in the Big Bang though. The only idea that might work would be an alternating process between a Big Bang and a Big Crunch, which would have no beginning or ending. But something had to create the Big Bang and Big Crunch. Something had to kick everything off unless you believe in spontaneous generation.
It is rather depressing to think that there was no creation. That means that we would be stuck in an eternal universe without any hope of creation or destruction. That sounds rather boring and like a prison sentence. And could matter and energy pop up out of nowhere… a form of spontaneous generation? Well, it is possible, but not probable. Actually, a Creator makes more sense than a Spontaneous Generator. But even if you believed in spontaneous generation, a Creator could still create something from nothing. The Spontaneous Generator would be the ultimate Creator because our universe would have been created from nothing.
Most everything we see in our universe is moving in an orbit. And even things that we cannot see like electrons are moving in an orbit. In other words, most of both our macroworld and microworld have orbits with boundaries. And if our universe is an eternal recycling or perpetual motion machine, it too will have a boundary as it cycles back and forth.
But even if you only believe that our universe is in motion, you must ask what started that motion? And the natural law of entropy indicates that the motion will eventually stop. What keeps it going? Even if we argue that dark matter and dark energy are fully employed within our universe to keep the motion going, we cannot avoid the earlier question: what started the motion?
It only seems logical that creation must be interjected into the picture in order for us to have an original motion, whether it be the Big Bang or some other act of creation. Interestingly enough, most scientists believe in the Big Bang and an unlimited universe that will expand forever. These are inconsistent theories. The Big Bang is a theory explaining how our universe was created, while infinite expansion is a theory of a universe which has no boundary or end. If creation occurred on the other side of the Big Bang, there is a fence around our universe.
Whether there are multi-universes which have been created is not ripe for discussion. We don’t have enough information and probably never will. We live in a universe where about less than one percent is visible. Perhaps not all the universe is observable, much like when we look toward the horizon on earth, we cannot see the skyscrapers in the next town. And we certainly cannot see dark matter and dark energy, which is about 96% of the known universe.
But we do know that we are aware of our existence of earth. This consciousness is probably something that was created. Logically, there must have been a creation or everything probably would be motionless and dead.
Subsection B – What if the Event Horizon Were the Edge?
There may be two event horizons: one would be the boundary for a black hole and the other might be the edge of the universe. The event horizon we are most familiar with is that boundary of a black hole which coincides with the point where light rays cannot escape the gravitational pull of the black hole. If light cannot penetrate the event horizon, then nothing can escape. Scientists believe that dying stars collapse to form black holes, yet we really don’t know what goes on behind that curtain called the event horizon.
What if it simply were a part of our universe that we could not see? What if there was entropy within the black hole that we could not detect? Even Stephen Hawking indicated that he had found evidence that a black hole released particles as it simultaneously consumed others. Scientists detect variations in speeds and directions of visible objects that orbit black holes. So, if they exist, they may simply be invisible parts of the universe. We cannot see them.
However just because we cannot see black holes, is not justification that they are different from the universe that we can see. Black holes probably do not exist in a different dimension or follow different scientific laws and rules than the rest of our universe. More than likely, black holes will eventually consume themselves, perhaps creating a super-massive explosion which may explain mega gamma ray bursts.
We probably should not hypothesize that all supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies follow the same pattern of growth and development. Some may be billions of times larger than our sun, perhaps created soon after the Big Bang. Even though we discussed how homogeneous the universe was, we also know that there are anomalies and chaos, as well.
The bottom line is that we know very little about the universe and probably never will. It is quite possible that we can only see a minor segment of the universe and therefore will never be able to put all the pieces together. The combination of black holes and dark energy is about 96% of the universe, based on mathematical calculations. So, we cannot see 96% of the universe. How could we possibly understand the entire universe?
The best we can do is to extrapolate. We might say that there is a chance that black holes act like the visible universe that we can observe. There is nothing that tells us otherwise. We can argue that the matter and energy in the black hole is not trapped inside, but will be released somewhere else in the universe. The constant transitioning from mass to energy and vice versa will continue in our universe, including within the black holes.
The more difficult transition is from the theory of relativity in the macroworld to the quantum theory in the microworld. We can peer into a high-powered microscope and see tiny particles, but we cannot see quarks. There is a microworld that does have an event horizon that blocks us from entering. Otherwise, we would fall through the porous atoms that make up the floor we are standing on. This may be the true event horizon that can create a Big Bang when the microworld enters into the macroworld. We probably will never have enough information to know with certainty, but it is possible.
It is interesting that Stephen Hawking confessed recently that he was an atheist and believed that the universe could be explained by science without a creator. That may be true for the visible universe. However, the part of the universe that is invisible, which may be primarily a quantum world, cannot be explained by science. Scientists cannot even merge the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. And that does not even touch the possibilities of invisible multi-universes or zones which might be incubators for universes.
The fact that there may be a Creator is not only possible, but is quite probable. There is no scientific evidence that there has ever been something created from nothing. So, even if you believe in a universe which is constantly being recycled, logically there must be something that created that universe, more than likely outside the universe. For example, even if you argue that the Big Bang was our macro-universe exploding out of a quantum microworld, this process within our universe had to originate from something else, probably outside our complex gravitational and quantum universe.
In theory, there may be a boundary for our universe I will call the “universe horizon.” Creation, by definition and perhaps also by reality, can only occur on the other side of the universe horizon. But either the event horizon or the universe horizon is evidence that there are edges, which is great proof that this is a closed universe with a Creator somewhere on the other side.
Subsection C – Our Visible Universe
We can see only about 4% of the universe because about 73% is dark energy and 23% is dark matter that we cannot see. And since the universe may extend many times beyond our universe horizon of 13.6 billion light years, we may actually only see less than 1% of the universe.
We know that the speed of light is constant throughout our universe at 186,000 miles per second, which means that light would encircle earth about seven times in one second. But that speed limit only applies to particles traveling through space. Space is not restricted to this speed and can expand or contract faster than the speed of light. This sets up some interesting questions.
How can we see early galaxies dating back about 13 billion years? Wouldn’t the light from those galaxies have passed us by billions of years ago? Well, probably we couldn’t see early galaxies that no longer exist, if the Milky Way galaxy were expanding at the speed of light. But like we said earlier, the space between galaxies may be expanding or contracting faster than the speed of light.
As we mentioned, Hubbell discovered the red shift indicating that galaxies were expanding away from each other at increasing speeds. Scientists learned that the galaxies that were further away were redder, indicating faster speeds of acceleration. However, if the galaxies were shrinking, we would observe the same red shift. This is because the galaxies would distance themselves from each other as they all decreased in size.
Most scientists have analyzed the cold end of our universe as it expands forever into space until we cannot see any other galaxies. So, let’s examine the other possibility that is always overlooked. What if the galaxies were collapsing? Could that explain why we can see ancient galaxies?
If the space between galaxies were expanding faster than the speed of light, the light from distant galaxies would still be attempting to reach us. If the space between galaxies were expanding at or less than the speed of light, the light from ancient galaxies would have past by billions of years ago.
However, if we exist in a closed universe, galaxies may have originally expanded away from each other faster than the speed of light, but then slowed down, and now are contracting at an increasing speed. Could this explain why we can view ancient galaxies? We would see the ancient light as we bounce back into its light.
It is interesting to note that the deep-space galaxies show an increase in acceleration. One theory is that this proves that entropy occurred after the Big Bang since the newer galaxies are slowing down. Another theory is that the rebound effect is slower with galaxies nearer to us while the compaction or shrinking may be more significant for those galaxies that are farther away. This could be evidence of the shrinking which originated with the newer galaxies, while the older galaxies are shown still expanding from the Big Bang. It could also mean that the galaxies that are accelerating at greater speeds are closer to dark energy or dark mass. But this needs much more study and analysis.
These ideas are nothing more than conjecture at this time, but since it is quite possible, it should not be dismissed because it does not follow traditional theories of cosmologists.
Subsection D – Light Years Away
Scientists have discovered the most distant and ancient galaxy ever spotted, using Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS), data was collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck I telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
Astronomers have now confirmed that the galaxy, designated z8_GND_5296, formed within 700 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it the oldest and most distant galaxy ever verified. Older galaxies will be discovered as telescopes are improved. We are about to go hunting for the new record-breakers with the James Webb Space Telescope, and we expect eventually to see the very first galaxies in the universe. This new record holder for distance is in the same part of the sky as the previous record holder, which also had a high rate of star formation.
Because this galaxy was so far from Earth, scientists were able to observe z8_GND_5296 as it would have appeared about 13.1 billion years ago. The Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago. So, how can we see a galaxy that no longer exists and that stopped emitting light billions of years ago?
Steven Finkelstein, the lead author of the new galaxy study in Nature and an astronomer at the University of Texas, Austin, recently said: ”The most exciting aspect in general of what I do is the fact that we can learn about what things were like in the very early universe. Because the speed of light is constant, light takes time to get here, we’re not seeing these galaxies as they are now. We’re seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago which is 95 percent of the way back to the Big Bang.”
Scientists are seeing the galaxy as it was when it was very young. Many of the old stars that were part of this early galaxy are probably still in existence today, but they might be part of a bigger galaxy. In other words, the visible universe may include the same stars in different galaxy formations.
Galaxy z8_GND_5296 produces stars about 150 times more quickly than our Milky Way galaxy. While the Milky Way may produce about one or two stars each year, z8_GND_5296 birthed about 300 per year approximately 13 billion years ago, according to the astronomers’ observations.
Light from a galaxy 13.1 billion light years away is coming from where? That galaxy no longer exists and is not sending out light anymore. So, how can we view it today just as it was 13.1 billion years ago? How can we even see something traveling at the speed of light that was emitted 13.1 billion years ago today? Wouldn’t it have shot by us billions of years ago never to be seen again?
There are two theories.
One is the theory of expansion. When the light from this ancient galaxy was emitted, it was about 1.4 billion light years away from the edge of the universe. The universe was only about 700 million years old at the time. As time passed, the space between this galaxy and the rest of the universe was expanding the same time the light was traveling.
After the light left the distant galaxy, the space between that galaxy and the edge of the space bubble continued to expand. Galaxies that are farther away than about 400 million light years have their light get farther away from us before it gets closer to us. But because of how space expands, it takes far longer than the expected 1.4 billion years for that light to reach us.
In fact, it takes 13.1 billion years for that light to reach us. But when we say that the galaxy is 13.2 billion light years away from us, we really mean that the light has been traveling for that time period. In the example of our ancient galaxy, it is about 32 billion light years away and the light it is emitting now will never reach us. This could have been caused by dark energy.
You might ask, then, what’s the farthest distance a galaxy could be from us, in principle, and still be visible today? The answer is about 46 billion light years, although we know that the universe doesn’t have galaxies at that age.
Two is the theory of contraction. The initial acceleration after the Big Bang was estimated to be faster than light, but it probably slowed down after a few million years. Initially, the light emitted from the ancient galaxy would not have caught up with the rate of expansion, but it would have after several billion years and would have passed beyond the visible universe into the realm of dark energy. However, the light was not destroyed. It just simply would have not been visible.
The theory of contraction allows those early light emissions to be seen again after the universe reversed and started contracting. The “red-shift” proves both: an increase in acceleration and an increase in contraction, depending on the perspective. Two galaxies that are shrinking rapidly away from each other will provide a “red-shift” effect just the same as two galaxies that are being separated by acceleration.
The theory of contraction seems to be a better fit for explaining how we can still view ancient galaxies. We can see them because we reversed direction and are heading back toward the Big Bang. As we decrease in size, getting closer to the Big Crunch, which will be about where the Big Bang originated, the light of early galaxies are seen in our shrinking closed universe.
Subsection E – Behind the Big Bang
If we are searching for what lies behind the Big Bang, we may never find it if this is a closed universe. If nothing is behind the Big Bang, then this might well be an open universe. Would the belief in an open universe logically lead to a belief in spontaneous generation of the universe? Something must have caused the Big Bang. Let’s just assume that it was something. So, what is behind the origin of our visible universe?
Well, we know that it is invisible and that it must be very powerful. There are three huge invisible forces in the universe: dark matter, dark energy, and quantum mechanics. We know very little about any of these three, but we have a pretty good idea what dark matter is because we see its impact on the visible universe around it. We believe that black holes and supermassive black holes form a web connecting the visible mass throughout our universe. Dark matter may be the connecting fiber from the center of all galaxies throughout the extent of our visible universe.
But what is this dark energy that we know only through mathematical calculations showing that 76% of the universe is missing. We gave it a name dark energy, but we have no clue what it is. We can speculate that it is impacting the other 23% of the universe and that we should see evidence of that in some manner.
If we examine Hubble’s discovery that the visible universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, we can make some assumptions. First, there is something that is drawing the visible universe and dark matter to it at accelerating speeds. Second, the power of that attractive force would be about three times the mass being attracted. Third, it is invisible. Sounds a lot like dark energy, doesn’t it?
Now, where are we headed at this accelerated speed? Well, we can assume that we are headed back to where we started for two reasons: (1) the universe is designed around elliptical orbits, whether planets orbiting the sun or suns orbiting the galaxies or electrons orbiting the nucleus, so that everything always returns; and (2) if we are in a closed system, there is no beginning and end within the system, meaning that we are always being recycled and returned in some manner.
The quantum world could also be the invisible force behind the Big Bang. What if we live in a quantum world rather than a space-time continuum? Our visible piece of the universe might be similar to a microbe in the ground trying to determine how it fits within our galaxy. Yet, we consider ourselves as living in a macroworld with ourselves in the center of the universe. However, I suggest that we may be actually in a microworld with quantum mechanics ruling the invisible universe.
Perhaps the reason why Einstein and other scientists have not been able to reconcile gravity with quantum theory is because gravity is a very minor force that is a very small subset of quantum mechanics. Gravity even may be an anomaly of control in an otherwise random and chaotic universe. For life, as we know it, could not exist in a quantum world. But that being said, it may be that life, as we know it, will exist for only a limited time because it really does lie within a quantum universe. But then that brings you back to the ultimate question: what created the quantum universe?
There are two primary thoughts I had about where our universe is headed: (1) returning in an elliptical pattern back to what is behind the Big Bang or (2) contracting visible and dark matter as the web shrinks down in size, as we rebound back to the quantum world which is behind the Big Bang. I can argue either theory, but I like the “Incredible Shrinking Universe” since it seems most likely and logical to me.
The “red shift” described by Hubble would still explain the shrinking universe. The galaxies that are held together by the dark matter web would remain proportional as to each other as they shrank uniformly, moving away from each other at increasing speeds as they got closer to the dark energy. It also makes more sense to me because dark energy would probably be involved in both the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, working inside the visible universe, first expelling it in a big explosion and then pulling it back into its realm. The elegance of the shrinking universe theory is that everything is controlled by the dark energy, both forming the visible universe within and then gobbling it up in the quantum world, which is probably behind the Big Bang.
The shrinking universe theory creates more questions than answers. If we are shrinking back into the quantum world, will there be an event horizon as we cross over the threshold? Will there be a Big Crunch explosion or implosion when we enter the quantum world? Is our visible universe just a random creation out of the quantum world? Or will there be a constant Big Bang and Big Crunch recycling process?
Another important question is: do the laws of thermodynamics in a macroscopic world apply to the quantum world? In other words, will we find that a perpetual motion machine is possible in the quantum world, where multiple Big Bangs and Big Crunches can occur? Will we find that there can be creation of mass and energy in the quantum world?
Subsection F – Will We Have Another Big Bang?
Scientist are comfortable that there was a Big Bang, but will there be more? Is it possible that a Big Bang will occur again when triggered by an event similar to what causes a supernova? If we might have another Big Bang, then we certainly are in a closed universe.
If stars are at least 25 times bigger than our sun, they will undergo a violent end to their lives, terminating in what scientists call a supernova. These larger stars burn their hydrogen and fuse hydrogen into helium. Then helium is fused into beryllium and then into carbon. These jumbo stars burn carbon for about 600 years, and then they burn neon for about one year. Oxygen burning occurs for about six months. The core will reach temperatures of about three billion degrees, fusing silicon into iron in about one day. As the core shrinks, it increases in density. Electrons are forced to combine with protons to make neutrons and more neutrinos, called neutronization. The core cools and becomes an extremely rigid form of matter. This entire process only takes a fraction of a second.
The core will be about the size of our planet at this point, compressed to near the breaking point. Since iron is not a fuel, the burning stops. The sudden halt of energy generation causes the core to collapse even more. The material surrounding the iron core collapses so fast that it smashes into the core and then rebounds in an explosion called a supernova. The energy released during this explosion is so immense that the star will out shine an entire galaxy for a few days. Supernova can be seen in nearby galaxies, about one every 100 years.
Scientists can sometimes make comparisons and draw analogies to other events throughout the universe. Is the supernova event similar to a Big Bang? It certainly sounds a lot like it. So what are the similarities? Well, we know that the Big Bang sounds a lot like what happens to the material in a supernova. Would the Big Bang have a triggering event like iron that would create it again? It might. The death of a star as mass is converted to energy sounds similar to the death of our universe as its mass is converted to dark energy. The matter in our universe, if it is being compressed like the star’s core, may explode in a Big Bang event, similar to a supernova, but on a much larger scale.
Another Big Bang might occur if the dark energy were causing the matter in our universe to compress. If we are in a shrinking universe and dark energy is causing this collapse of matter, then there will be a time when the matter in the universe would be collapsed to such a small point when it would explode again as another Big Bang. Then we will have an infinite process of going from a Big Bang to a Big Crunch and back again.
Subsection G – Expansion and Contraction
In a closed universe, the universe could go back and forth between expansion and contraction in a perpetual state. The Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago and most scientists believe that there was a very rapid expansion of our universe, perhaps even exceeding the speed of light. The speed limit for light, which normally cannot be exceeded, could be broken because more than likely it was space expanding and not matter.
And when scientists examine the universe, they are amazed at how consistent the matter is positioned, almost like the matter has remained the same with only space moving. So, what happens after the heat of early expansion cools down? What happens as the expansion slows down and follows the law of entropy? It seems logical that contraction would be the next logical action of the universe as expansion came to a halt and then reversed.
The famous “red shift” discovered by Hubbell indicated that most of the galaxies were distancing themselves from each other at an increasing rate. It does not seem logical that expansion is increasing in speed after 13.8 billion years. But it may make sense to wonder if our universe is contracting at an increasing rate. The “red shift” can explain both expansion and contraction equally well. If the galaxies are racing away from each other, we would see a red shift. Also if the galaxies remain proportionate to each other, if they shrink away from each other, this would also show a red shift.
The four fundamental forces: gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear were forged within the first second after the Big Bang before matter had mass. Scientists believe that matter was given mass from interacting with the boson force and the Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the “God particle.” Without the Higgs boson, atoms could not have formed and the matter in the universe would never have been created.
But before the first second was over, the matter had to defeat its archenemy, antimatter. And it was able to barely survive that onslaught. If antimatter had won, we would all be antimatter humans, living on an antimatter earth. What is the difference between matter and antimatter? There probably is not much that separates the two other than having opposite electrical charges. But it was critical that the two did not have exactly the same amount or they would have wiped each other out, leaving nothing behind.
We believe the Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago, so assuming that we could see all the way back to that event would that mean that our observable universe was 13.8 billion light years wide? Well, probably not since as we indicated earlier, space can expand at a speed faster than light; so some of that expansion of space was going faster than the speed of light. We also need to consider our sight line back to the Big Bang would be a radius, so you may have to double the distance for the full width of the observable universe. Thus, the observable universe is thought to be about 90 billion light years across.
These are just several reasons why we may be inside an incredible shrinking universe. But the best reason of all is that we live in a closed recycling universe that perpetually goes from a Big Bang to a Big Crunch. If the universe, which is uniform, were accelerating, dark energy would be pulling it further out into space, stretching it to the breaking point. We don’t see that happening. It is more likely that the expansion has stopped and we are collapsing back as dark energy draws us back to the origin of the Big Bang.
Subsection H – Getting Closer to the Origin of Time
Scientists may be getting closer to the origin of time as they pair quantum mechanics with time. We know that quantum theory involves random movement, while time is constant. Or is time constant? Scientists currently are conducting experiments by freezing ions to determine whether time and space are also random like in the quantum world. If time is also random, then scientists may discover that time, as we understand it, does not really exist.
Perhaps, time simply was a creation by man, and the space-time continuum was a creation by Einstein that anchors us to earth and the universe. Time and location are certainly practical measures of where we are at any particular moment. But is time just a measure of where we are?
Humans live for a short period of time and then they die. It is only natural for us to keep track of this temporal moment on earth. However, is time of any importance beyond a measure for our life on earth? Is time just something that we created to create control in an otherwise chaotic world?
We may also be getting closer to the origin of time in a more physical sense if this is a closed universe. If our universe is shrinking, rather than expanding, we could be moving back in time, as we understand it, to the origin of our universe, more commonly known as the Big Bang. Of course, moving in reverse, it would lead to the Big Crunch.
Why would we be contracting rather than expanding? Well, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the law of entropy, would require the expansion of the universe to be slowing down, but it is doing just the opposite: it is accelerating. As the universe moved closer to the Big Bang, it would accelerate, perhaps from dark matter and energy.
The red-shift detected by Hubble can support the contraction theory of the universe. As galaxies shrink uniformly in space, they move away from each other. As they get closer to the event horizon of the Big Bang where time, as we know it, stops, the galaxies will continue to accelerate in speed.
The law of entropy may be the reason for our failure to marry gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. The theory of everything is perhaps explained by entropy. As gravity loses its power due to entropy, quantum mechanics may take over, shrinking the gravitational forces back into it.
Today’s scientists are locked into a perspective of space-time expanding in a straight line forever. Hubble’s discovery of the “red shift” at least forced scientists to think outside their box, realizing that the visible mass in the universe was accelerating, not decelerating. But scientists still were like early man looking at the horizon, thinking that the earth was flat.
Everything in the universe runs in an elliptical pattern. The force that is causing our visible universe to accelerate is the missing piece of our universe that scientists call dark energy, which is about 75% of the mass and energy in our universe. So, we must be either headed toward dark energy at an accelerating pace either through curving back towards the original source of the Big Bang event or by being on the rebound and shrinking back to the Big Bang event. Either can be argued with equal success.
However, I like the shrinking universe theory. It factors in dark energy as lying in the quantum world, drawing us back into it. The theory of accelerating back toward the quantum event horizon makes more sense because it is going from the macroworld returning to the microworld. The problem with space-time is that it really does not fit in the quantum world. At least, it doesn’t fit until it crosses the event horizon and returns to it. The entropy is the lack of information that we can only piece together from our knowledge that dark energy exists somewhere in our universe. It is the only logical force that could be causing the acceleration of the visible universe. And it is most likely located within the quantum world that we cannot see, but probably are returning to either by an elliptical return to it or by a shrinking return.
Our space-time continuum may simply be only in our imaginations to provide the appearance of control in an otherwise random quantum universe, which is chaotic. The truth may be that our fabrication of space-time is merely a small piece of the quantum universe that is rapidly headed toward reuniting with reality.
Time as defined by clocks and calendars has no meaning at the event horizon, where quantum theory is based on random movements. Time, as we know it, stops or becomes random. Any existence in this new quantum world would be infinite, so time would serve no purpose without a beginning and end.
Subsection I – Who Turned the Lights Out?
Scientists are puzzled by the lack of ultraviolet light in the universe as announced in the July 10, 2014, issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters. When scientists utilized supercomputer simulations to determine the amount of electrically neutral intergalactic hydrogen, it did not match the amount of ultraviolet light in the universe displayed by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. In other words, the amount of hydrogen, the source of the light, was five times more than the light detected.
Does the invisible universe interact with the visible universe so as to capture the missing light emissions? In other words, does dark energy or dark matter either consume or mask the light from hydrogen emissions? The light emanating from the hydrogen loss could be disappearing into the dark side, either dark energy or dark matter.
The missing light primarily appears in our nearby cosmos. When scientists examine galaxies that are billions of light years away, the 400 percent discrepancy does not exist. It does not occur in the early universe. What does this tell us? If the older galaxies were still expanding and were not shrinking under the influence of dark energy, then the light would be seen. The disappearance of the light may occur as our universe started compacting. The missing photons probably cannot be seen in the dark world which has swallowed the extra light.
It makes sense if you view the visible universe as shrinking as evidenced by the loss of visible light, and if you imagine the invisible universe gathering strength, including light, as it pulls the visible universe into its powerful contracting jaws. The lights may be being turned off by the incredible shrinking universe.
Subsection J – Putting a Light on Dark Matter
Recently, astronomers detected unusual x-ray emissions coming from the Andromeda galaxy and the Perseus galaxy cluster. Since the emissions do not correspond to any known particle and are concentrated in the center, the scientists wonder if this is evidence of dark matter. Prior to this discovery, astronomers believed that a supermassive black hole was located in the center of most galaxies. The findings were confirmed when they examined the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
Scientists have several theories as to the makeup of dark matter, including weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), axions, and sterile neutrinos (hypothetical cousins of normal neutrinos). The deterioration of sterile neutrinos is believed to produce X-rays, so researchers suspect these may be dark matter particles coming from Andromeda and the Perseus cluster.
Observations of star motion and galaxy dynamics, along with mathematical calculations, suggest that about 80 percent of all matter in the universe is dark matter, exerting a gravitational force but not interacting with light. But that’s not the whole story. These same mathematical calculations indicate that the visible matter along with dark matter only account for about 27% of the universe, leaving a gargantuan 73% missing, which scientists call dark energy.
Cosmologists believe that the visible matter is increasing in its expansion, headed toward infinity so that somebody all our neighboring galaxies will be out of sight. In effect, our universe must be flat. This sounds similar to the ancient theories that the earth was flat. It seems flat from our perspective. However, it seems more logical that the original expansion of the universe has slowed down through entropy. So why are we increasing in our acceleration? Well, the acceleration does not have to be out into a flat future, but it can just as easily be back toward its origin, which might be dark energy.
If dark energy were consuming the matter within our universe, the visible matter if remaining proportionate, would be shrinking so as to create a red shift. As the dark energy consumed more matter, it would exert a more powerful force on the matter and its feeding would accelerate, causing the collapsing to occur at a faster rate.
As scientists put a light on dark matter, it will be interesting to speculate where dark energy lies. Assuming that our universe is not flat, but has edges and blows up and then deflates like a balloon, dark energy must surround and be inside matter in order to consume it. Then like a star that collapses and explodes into a supernova, the universe will eventually explode into a new Big Bang.
The Big Crunch and Big Bang could alternate back and forth within a closed, recycling universe. The universe would not be flat without boundaries, but it would be self-contained cycling between expansion and contraction.
Scientists believe that most, if not all, galaxies have supermassive black holes in their centers. These giant black holes are now being considered as significant features in the development of galaxies.
One of the interesting relationships is the mass of a nuclear black hole relating to the mass of the galaxy. Each central black hole’s mass is about .5% of the mass of the galaxy. Another interesting fact is that the sigma formations of stars on the edge of galaxies have about the same speed as stars deeper inside the galaxy that are closer to the black hole. This seems to suggest that the black hole and all the stars within the galaxy were imprinted with something other than gravity, since gravity of the black hole has no impact on stars that far from it.
It is also interesting to note that the speed of stars within each galaxy correlates with the mass of the central black hole. In other words, as the supermassive black hole goes from about one million times the mass of our sun to over one billion times the mass of our sun, the speeds of the stars within those galaxies increase in relationship to the higher masses.
So what is this imprint? We do not know, but it may be that soon after the Big Bang about 18 billion years ago, supermassive black holes were formed in the center of each spiraling cloud of dust and gas. As the clouds were compacted and swirled around the black hole like a whirlpool, the temperatures reached millions of degrees, which may have lit up compressed balls of gas, creating the first stars. The imprint of the black hole on stars may have related to its size. We just do not know.
As the black hole fed off the clouds, it formed a quasar until at some point it may have pushed the remainder of the universe away from itself. The black hole may have stopped feeding on the clouds, allowing the development of stars and solar systems throughout the remaining portion of the galaxy. This theory is under scrutiny since we are finding mega-massive black holes that are ten billion times the size of our sun. These huge black holes probably did not stop feeding. The supermassive black holes could have been developed over millions of years in a feeding frenzy of the visible universe caused by compaction.
Very little is known about black holes or dark matter since we cannot see it. We can only see how it impacts stars and clouds racing around it. Physics cannot explain it because at the event horizon, time and rules of physics, as we understand them, come to a complete halt. Perhaps the laws of quantum mechanics come into play. Again, we just do not know.
Generally, when scientists find relationships between things like supermassive black holes and the remainder of their galaxies, it is not just a coincidence. That is why it seems that an imprint emanated from the nucleus of the black hole as it reached out and touched the remaining portions of those galaxies.
Stellar black holes are created when stars bigger than our sun die and create a supernova. Scientists have seen these whirling around the supermassive black hole of the Milky Way galaxy. Since the mass of the galaxy’s black hole retains the same proportion to the mass of the remainder of the galaxy, it is possible that as stellar black holes or mass from the rest of the galaxy contributes to the increase of mass of the supermassive black hole, the supermassive black hole must expel some of its mass as seen at the poles of quasars. This might keep the scales of mass balanced.
Again, it seems to be more than a coincidence that black holes, stars, and the nucleus are centers for elliptical orbits around these objects. Something typically is in the center and it played a role in the creation of everything within its environment. Perhaps the imprint was provided at birth.
Einstein spent the last years of his life searching for the link between gravity and quantum mechanics. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the theory of everything could be found in this theorized imprint. In other words, the approximate 96% of the universe that cannot be seen could be the quantum world that has mass included in the world of gravity. The quantum world could be found in both dark matter and dark energy.
Yet, the two worlds may exist simultaneously differing primarily in our perspective. Gravity may be operating within the 4% of the universe that is visible, while the most significant part of our universe is out of sight. It would be like examining the earth from the moon and then on the ground. Earth looks very round and smooth high above it in space. However, when you are at the base of the Alps, it looks very uneven and rugged.
The imprint on the solar systems, galaxies, dark matter, and dark energy may be the same. The merging of gravity with quantum gravity may occur because they all share the same imprint. They look completely different depending on your perspective, but they actually fit rather neatly together, forming the perpetual-motion machine of our universe.
In summary, the action of gravity creating elements through supernovas and Big Bangs, alternating with quantum mechanics through dark energy and Big Crunches may be part of the theory of everything that we have been seeking. The Big Crunch probably would even look like a continuation of the Big Bang from our macroworld perspective.
But the fact that the current activity is accelerating, makes us look closer at the possibility that we are in the Big Crunch or Big Bounce as dark energy or some force continues to shrink our universe at an accelerating rate. If the 4% of the universe that can be seen has the same imprint and remains proportional, then the shrinking would look like an expansion from that perspective.
If the dark energy is exerting this force, reducing the size of matter as it gobbles it up, the galaxies should be racing away from each other because they could be decreasing in size at an increasing rate. This shrinking effect could accelerate as dark energy became more prominent in our universe. In Einstein’s formula (E=mc squared) a kilogram of mass is converted to 299,792,458 squared joules of energy. If all the mass in our existing universe is being converted to energy, the amount of energy produced would become so astronomical that at some point, there would probably be runaway conversion. In other words, the acceleration of our shrinking mass in the universe would increase exponentially.
The galaxies and clusters may remain proportionate to each other since dark matter holds them together at the same proportion. Dark matter may consistently cement all other matter throughout our observable universe. The shrinking of galaxies would look like the galaxies were racing away from each other toward a larger gravitational force. Is there any evidence that galaxies are remaining proportionally the same? There may be.
Let’s examine the Milky Way galaxy. Based on our understanding of the theory of gravity, the outer stars of our galaxy should be moving more slowly as their speeds would be decelerating. That’s not happening. The stars on the outside rim of the galaxy are moving just as fast as the inner stars. This does not comport with our understanding of gravity. This appears to be pretty good evidence that the mass of our Milky Way is locked into the same configuration, proportion, and speed.
Subsection K – The New Interconnected Milky Way
New maps of the Milky Way galaxy, provided by the Planck space observatory, which has the ability to detect gas, dust, high energy particles and magnetic fields, show us the above elongated egg reflecting our interconnected galaxy. Scientists now can see four distinct color signals: red colors indicate dust, yellow represents gas, green is high energy particles, and blue shows the magnetic field.
“Planck can see the old light from our universe’s birth, gas and dust in our own galaxy, and pretty much everything in between, either directly or by its effect on the old light,” Charles Lawrence, the U.S. project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, announced.
The Planck satellite was built to detect microwave light, which made it sensitive to cosmic microwave background or light left over from the big bang. Planck’s study of the cosmic microwave background is helping scientists answer questions about the very early days of the universe. But with its microwave vision, Planck can detect more than just the cosmic microwave background.
The Milky Way image released by the Planck collaboration is an overview that combines four separate galaxy views. (1) The red view shows the heat coming from dust throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Planck can capture this thermal light even though the dust is extremely cold — about minus 420 Fahrenheit (minus 251 Celsius). (2) The yellow view shows carbon monoxide gas, which is concentrated in areas where new stars are being born. (3) The blue view shows light created when charged particles get caught up in our galaxy’s magnetic field and are pulled along like a swimmer in a rip tide. The particles accelerate to nearly the speed of light and begin to radiate. (4) The green view shows light that is created by free particles that zip past one another without quite colliding. This kind of light is often associated with hot, ionized gas near massive stars.
The Milky Way galaxy appears to be confined by an orbital boundary with a significant interconnectivity of the matter within our galaxy. The interconnectivity is a significant feature of our galaxy. Scientists have wondered why the solar systems and stars at the edge of our galaxy are traveling about the same speed as those in the rest of the galaxy. Typically, the stars on the outermost orbits would slow down since they were further away from the rest of the matter. But if all the stars and solar systems are interconnected, as they apparently are in this new picture, then that would explain why there is no deceleration at the boundary.
The picture of our galaxy appears to have a defined perimeter. Does this new picture of our galaxy comport with the infinite expansion theory, which is in vogue today? Well, probably not. The new pictures we have of our universe also appear to be much like the new picture of our galaxy. It shows a greater interconnectivity among all the matter within the universe, which in all likelihood has a boundary just like the Milky Way galaxy.
An infinite expansion of our universe would not match a closed universe. A closed universe could have a combination of expansions and contractions though, much like an inflated and deflated balloon. It would be analogous to a star which expands into a red giant and then contracts into a white dwarf before exploding. A universe could be similar in that it first expands and then contracts in a Big Crunch and finally explodes in another Big Bang.
Let me speculate. If the original Big Bang creating our universe, which created an expansion in all directions, only lasted a billion years, and then that universe started contracting, would we be able to see that? The picture of our galaxy, which could be similar to other galaxies, shows interconnected matter and energy that would be impacted equally by a contraction. From our perspective on earth, we would not be able to detect this movement because everything around us would remain proportionally the same.
We would, however, detect a red shift among galaxies as the shrinking would create distance between them. And we actually do see a red shift, but we have interpreted that to indicate that the galaxies are expanding away from each other to end up in deep space, forever separated in a frozen universe. This makes no sense unless we have an open universe, which is not likely.
The interconnectivity within our galaxy is very important. It may be the beacon that guides us to understanding the universe. All of the building blocks of our universe from the atoms to the stars to the galaxies may be entities with boundaries. It seems logical that the universe itself, which consists of all these blocks, has an edge to it as well, which contains all these building blocks. And if the universe has a boundary, then it is a closed universe. And if it is a closed universe, then it probably is shrinking in a Big Crunch that will eventually lead to another Big Bang.
What is causing the shrinking? Mysterious dark energy is the leading candidate.
Subsection L – Interconnected Galaxy Superclusters
It’s all a matter of perspective. If you are examining the night sky, the universe looks like a thousand points of light, scattered randomly in all directions. Whether you examine the sky from Australia or England, it has little form with more space than substance. However, if you examine the recent pictures prepared in 2014 by a team of scientists for Nature magazine, the bigger picture of the jig-saw puzzle of our universe starts to take shape.
Scientists showed us the new picture of Laniakea, our local supercluster formed from100,000 galaxies, including our Milky Way, located on one of the strands near the edge of the supercluster. The supercluster looks like something fly fishermen use for bait. It has two elongated bodies with fine, hairlike strands emanating from the core. It clearly has a design or shape that is not based on random connectivity. But it differs from the elliptical shapes of galaxies and solar systems. It looks more like an insect with long hair that needs combing.
Laniakea, which extends 500 million light years from stem to stern, is much larger than scientists originally believed. We used to think that we were part of the Virgo supercluster made up of about 100 galaxies, but we now know that the supercluster is 1,000 times that size.
In the picture of Laniakea in Nature, galaxies moving away from us are in red, while those moving toward us are in blue. This map shows a center dividing the supercluster into two sections that look like butterfly wings emanating from the center. The pathways of galaxies appear to be moving back and forth between the center section called “The Great Attractor.”
So how do we define the boundaries of these superclusters? Scientists believe that the galaxies move within the superclusters, so the edges are where the galaxies are consistently diverging. The supercluster next to Laniakea is Perseus-Pisces. It also has many hair-like filaments.
What happens if we shrink the universe even more? We find that Laniakea and Perseus-Pisces form filaments connecting to form our universe. There are voids and densely packed superclusters of galaxies, making it look like a multicellular living thing that moves.
Laniakea is just one of many superclusters in our universe. Now, the jig-saw pieces are starting to fit together so that the big picture is starting to come into focus. The galaxies around us are moving in identifiable patterns within Laniakea. And the superclusters are moving in patterns around each other.
So, is there a center of superclusters and even more interesting, is there a center to our universe? And what is the compelling force drawing these galaxies toward a center? There are more questions than answers as we continue to map our universe. But we are starting to see an interconnectivity within our universe that we did not fully appreciate before. And it appears to be both an expanding and contracting universe within a closed system.
Section VI – Conclusion
Thomas L. Friedman wrote a book called, “The World Is Flat.” His theory appeared to be that globalization is bringing countries together so that the world seemed to have flattened out through communication and technology. However, a flat world would make everything more distant, not closer together.
The same goes for the expansion theory as the end-game for our universe. Using that theory, the galaxies in our universe would spread out, moving further away from each other. Eventually, they would be so far away from each other that they would be in a Deep Freeze with no distant stars in the sky.
This theory reminds me of early man who could see no further than the horizon, so that everything was deemed to be flat. Most everything in our universe is elliptical. The electrons circle the nucleus. The planets circle our sun. Solar systems probably circle a supermassive black hole in the center of their galaxies.
It might be a mistake to think that galaxies are any different. It is possible that the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies have something that they all circle. Is this something dark energy, which makes up about 74% of our universe? Dark energy appears to have the strength to force dark matter to circle it. We don’t have enough information to speculate further, but we can examine the circular mechanism within our universe and wonder why supermassive black holes should be any different. Wouldn’t dark matter orbit something just like other matter within the rest of our universe?
So, our universe is just as flat as the world is… meaning it probably is not flat at all. More than likely, our universe is a closed entity that expands and contracts like a balloon. And if the galaxies remained proportionate to each other, we could never detect whether it was expanding in an open universe or contacting in a closed universe.
The “red shift” detected between galaxies cannot distinguish between expansion in an open universe or contraction in a closed universe either. If the galaxies were moving away from each other in a flat universe, it would be reflected in a “red shift.” And if the galaxies were shrinking away from each other in a closed universe, it would also create a “red shift.” Thus, we do know that the galaxies are not collapsing in a flat universe, nor are expanding in a closed universe.
The bottom line is do you believe the universe is flat and open ended or is it circular and closed? In the future, I suspect that scientists will view our beliefs that the universe was flat to be no different than when we thought the world was flat.
There is much that we do not know and perhaps never will. Most of the universe is invisible to us, and even if it were visible, we probably still would not understand it. But the law of conservation of matter and energy seems to be a solid law with no exceptions in a closed universe. That is why it is critical for cosmologists and other scientists to think outside the box. Even though the theory of a shrinking universe cannot be proven, it cannot be disproven either. It should be considered as a mainstream theory along with the expansion theory until proven otherwise.