TED Conversations

Rick Ryan


This conversation is closed.

Why does the Universe look the same in all directions we look, considering an expanding Universe created by the Big Bang?

I've struggled to comprehend this. Looking away from the Earth, we are looking back into the history of the Universe's expansion since the Big Bang. Astronomers report that in any direction we look, at the farthest "distance and time" we can currently see, it appears there is a consistancy in what we see. Galaxies appear to be in the same "time state" of development, etc. If I carry this reasoning out to it's conclusion to where I can eventually see the edge of the Universe in all directions I look (assuming a finite Universe with a boundary), wouldn't that imply the Earth was actually at the center of the Universe? If the light coming back to me showing me the past is representing that in every direction I look I will see the same (time-wise) early state of the objects in the Universe, wouldn't I have to be in the center of it? If I wasn't centered, I should be seeing different "time states" of objects in the Universe depending on the direction I looked after the Big Bang expansion started.

I'm NOT asking this in a religious context. I'm NOT implying the Earth is actually in the center of our Universe to try to support any belief or faith. I'm looking for a theoretical physics explanation that will allow me to comprehend the observation without the Earth being centered in the Universe.

I just can't grasp the concept that if the Earth was a result of the Big Bang expansion, why does it LOOK like I'm in the center instead of off to the side closer to one edge of the Universe than the other? The probability of the Earth actually ending up in the center would be astronomical.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 23 2012: Isn't the entire galaxy we live in moving as fast as the rest of the universe ?
    If yes,that tells me why it looks the same.
    As for the big bang-seeing as we know really nothing yet,it is just another idea waiting for the truth.
    • Sep 23 2012: "....waiting for the truth". A very good comprehension, Mr. Kinsman.

      Perhaps the best and most honest conclusion is we see the cosmos from a narrow and extremely limited perspective. There likely are many universes within the Universe. What is man that we expect to see it all? What is man to even think a human someday will see it all while yet remaining human? What is man to expect to see stereoscopic perspectives of anything of this vast assemblage of planets, stars, masses of gas and particles?

      Maybe its best to accept we, as individuals, will move on to other levels of life far above human and with such advances we will have opportunities to see more, perhaps a lot more and from an entirely different perspective! Imagine that! What realities await us for the next life?
      • Sep 24 2012: The only constant is change. I heard that a few moons ago.
        Energy cannot be destroyed,it can be altered.That explains life & death to me.We just see the sun rise from a new angle.
        Simple thoughts from a simple mind.
        Nothing is really that complicated,however those explanations can be a bit long winded .
        Science keeps proving to me that the words of my grandma are true."All is connected".

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.