The majority of cosmologists believe our universe is expanding at increasing speeds. This theory is supported by the “red shift” discovered by Edwin Hubbell and others. 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 racing 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. Now, the Big Bang stretched back in the past for basically 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.
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.
Is Our Universe Shrinking?
There are two evidentiary matters that might prove that our universe is shrinking.
First. The “smudgy” galaxies that we can see in deep space are about 12 billion years old. The light from those galaxies, which no longer exist, has been traveling about 12 billion years to reach us. But we have been traveling much less than the speed of light for probably the last 13 billion years, so the light from the early galaxies would have zipped past us perhaps billions of years ago.
But this is a problem only if our universe has been constantly expanding. 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 speed. Then as things cooled off, matter formed and slowed things down very quickly, since gravity probably is a weak force when compared with dark energy. 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.
Dark matter would have maintained a constant proportionality among the surviving visible matter, while the dark energy which accounts for approximately 72% 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. Admittedly, this sounds a bit preposterous;however, it does offer an interesting explanation.
Scientists believe in the “arrow of time,” following the theory of entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that indicates that the universe goes from order to disorder. 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.
However, entropy is not an ending in a closed universe (see closed universe discussion in “Closed or Open Universe” section, supra). Entropy leads to a new beginning where a stronger force takes over. Extinctions do not lead to an end of life, but they rather lead to new forms of life adapting to the new environment.
Since the larger stars, through entropy, become dark matter, it is possible that all matter eventually becomes dark energy. This process would be more like fission than fusion, as both dark matter and dark energy feed on the visible universe. We are confident that time stops at the event horizon at the edge of a black hole, so it seems logical that time can stop and could reverse itself as a contraction process started.
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.
Another point is that either hearing or seeing the microwave background radiation does not seem probable with a constantly expanding universe. The speed of sound would have been too slow and the speed of light or speed of radiation, which is about the speed of light, would have been too fast for a constant expansion speed. In other words, 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 the light and radiation would have been too fast to be seen today. However, it could be heard and seen if time had reversed itself. 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 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 may fail 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 except arguing for a contracting universe.
Second. And there is a second reason to believe that the universe is shrinking. Our universe is detected to be very homogeneous and very orderly. 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 Second Law of Thermodynamics indicates that entropy acts on and within our universe. If you recognize that an existing state is more disordered than a former state, then you can surmise that the existing state came later in time. In a closed system, 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 caused the universe to become very disorderly and the speed of acceleration decreased.
The reverse is also true. 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 reversed its direction and came back together, attracted by dark matter and dark energy? This contraction could explain the current homogeneity in our universe as the matter consolidated and reformed.
Typically, scientists would look for similar interactions between matter and energy. So, let’s consider the conversion of matter to energy in the sun. Currently, the amount of hydrogen in the sun is 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. This percentage is eerily similar to the amount of dark energy in the universe which is 72%, dark matter is 24%, and other matter is 4%.
What if dark energy were consuming matter within our observable universe similar to the fusion activity on the sun? If this were true, this could explain the red shift without the problematic 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, assuming a homogenous or isotropic universe which most cosmologists believe.
The sun is about 4.6 billion years old, while the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, so this makes this comparison even more interesting. The dark energy may have been consuming matter longer than the sun has been consuming hydrogen, so it makes sense that the percentage of dark energy is so high.
The two processes are opposites. Dark matter would increase while hydrogen would decrease. Think of the conversion to energy by dark matter as more like fission as compared to fusion of the sun. Nuclear fusion and fission are two types of energy released from atomic bonds between particles in the nucleus. The primary difference is that fission is a splitting of an atom into smaller atoms and fusion is combining two smaller atoms into a larger one. The amount of energy needed for fission is less than that for fusion, but the energy released by fusion is higher than that for fission.
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 just 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 do have locked in place.
We do know that the sun is about half way through its life. The percentage of about 70% could be the middle point for both the sun and the universe’s contraction stage, since we believe that the last stages will consume matter exponentially in a runaway conversion to energy.
The universe may have expanded rapidly until gravity lost out to dark energy. The expansion period probably was for a short period as gravity was a weak force. The expansion more than likely stopped billions of years before our sun and solar system were formed. If this were true, we would be deep into a contraction period now, perhaps over half way through it. However, there could be an argument that since the dark energy already is at the 72% mark, the contraction event is in its last stages.
The other elements in our sun do not include all the elements in the universe, so again it is not surprising that the other elements in the universe are 4%, while the sun only has 2%. It would seem logical to conclude that the 24% dark matter and 4% other matter would be consumed at the same rate. All matter in the galaxies, including the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, should be decreasing in size equally. Everything within the galaxy would remain the same as to each other, except anything related to gravity. For example, the black holes would continue to feed on other matter in the galaxies, while some galaxies would continue to merge into neighboring galaxies like Andromeda and the Milky Way.
Coincidental or Coincident Percentages?
The percentages of the elements in the sun and the universe are strikingly similar. Is this by a coincidental accident or is it a coincident impact on both since there are similar forces working on each? The sun is composed of 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, and 2% of other elements. The sun will not create all the elements until it explodes. The universe is composed of 72% dark energy, 24% dark matter, and 4% of all other matter. Are these percentages just a coincidence or is this further proof of homogeneity in the universe? Is there a universal force, perhaps dark energy, which keeps everything equally balanced?
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 sun and the universe? 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 eliminate the singularity problem in the Big Bang theory.
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 if offered 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 would 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?
Well, there might be six arguments that favor a closed system.
1. 1. 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.
2. 2. 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. Then there would be some evidence of stretching of matter located 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.
1. 3. 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. When we can actually see the Big Bang, this probably will not be a good thing.
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 would 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 them proportional as to each other. Dark matter is also evidence of a closed system that keeps all matter inside the system.
3. 4. 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.
4. 5. 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 would be an order and design imprinted on galaxies and everything else in the universe. Of course, entropy also exists in a closed universe, but it is 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.
6. Neither hearing nor seeing the microwave background radiation (MBR) seems probable with a constantly expanding universe, heading out into an open universe. The microwave radiation appears to be spread out everywhere, which only makes sense with 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. Only a closed universe would permit the MBR to saturate the universe. And only a reversal within the space-time fabric would allow the MBR to be heard and seen again.
Conservation of Matter and Energy
In a closed universe, there is a law called conservation of matter (mass) and energy, which means that all matter and energy within our universe can neither be created nor destroyed. 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 currently accounts for about 72% of our universe and it may be increasing.
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 is consistent, then galaxies would appear to be pulling away from each other. The only exceptions would be the galaxies that are so close to each other that gravity of matter would control their movement, drawing them together.
The red shift discussed above proves exactly that. Gravity only impacts those galaxies that are in proximity to each other. Dark energy may be converting mass to energy, and as the dark energy is enhanced, the shrinkage of matter would increase.
Are Shrinking Galaxies Remaining Proportional?
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.
If the dark energy is exerting this force, reducing the size of matter as it gobbles it up, the galaxies will 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.
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.