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Re: Size of the universe

Feb 03, 1997 11:52 AM
by Tim Maroney

>The extent of this universe, even though it is still expanding, must be
>limited at any given instant of time.  This is because the maximum
>velocity of any matter in what has been termed the physical universe is C,
>i.e. the speed of light or 186,282 miles per second. Ergo, the maximum
>radius of our physical universe at, say, the 15-billion-year mark must be
>precisely l5,000,000,000 astronomical light years.

Actually this is not what current theories of the universe say. During
the inflationary period the expansion is so rapid that certain parts of
the universe become luminally discontiguous -- that is, the distance
between them is sufficiently great that no light could ever have traveled
from one region to the other given the lifetime of the universe.  Since
this separation is caused by the expansion of space, it is not disallowed
under Einstein's theory. My source for this is books by the late Heinz
Pagels, a well-regarded physicist and science writer, and articles in
Scientific American over the last few years.

Tim Maroney


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