Universe, everything, how can we grasp the distances, the ages. 400 Years ago we had no knowledge of other galaxies. We lacked the tools to study areas beyond Earth's atmosphere, we could only conjecture what could be the cause of the tiny lights that spun across the skies at night. The sun and moon were highly visible, with the sun taking an active part of everyone's life like it were a integrated part of the weather. No tools to study. Isn't it odd that we figured out that the Earth could be sailed completely around about the same time that Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter? Now the Earth is round and it orbits the Sun along with the other planets. That piece of knowledge is one of the turning points of mankind that will never be surpassed. All those years of huddling around fires, gathering food, fending off strangers, and now we know that the Earth isn't flat. OK, from a peasant's standpoint who cares if Jupiter has moons, who needs to know that we orbit the sun instead of sun orbiting us.
To the common seagull foraging on the beach the fate of a star 400 light-years from Sol isn't much news at all. Once we begin to live off planet on the moon, mars, or in a mining operation in the asteroid belt will things like the news of like two galaxies colliding become popular. So, back in Kepler's time the telescopes were crude, we couldn't study much beyond our own solar system. But before we had the telescope we couldn't really study at all, and the conclusions that most theorists made reflected the lack of night sky clarity. Flat earth, monsters at the edges of the oceans.
So, do we have the necessary tools to study beyond our galaxy cluster today? Can we assume that we are able to formulate correct postulates about the structure of space around us and the galaxies nearby using the tools we have? Galileo couldn't put two and two together until he saw the moons of Jupiter, then it clicked. What thing or things must we see today and of course tomorrow that will inspire us to understand a bit more of the vast beyond vast universe that we live in?
Is it a common conception to think of the universe as shrinking or growing thing with a few hundred galaxies in it? That some 20 or 40 billion years ago it formed in a moment in time called the big bang, and now it is expanding, perhaps it will quit expanding, and begin to shrink, finally to start the whole process over again? What have we seen that leads us to this conclusion? Nothing that I remember reading about in these last 40 years or so. It's just an idea on paper to me. No real proof in the big bang is there? Want some proof? Perhaps in looking for proof another theory shows itself to our astronomical minds, and we better be ready to change our tune, otherwise we might be stuck in a theoretical rut for another 1,000 years. We crave to know, we keep trying, but are our tools so crude that we have not actually seen the way it is? The idea of the big bang, or the steady state theory, they seem so much like the sun orbiting the earth. Why always just one thing? One big bang, one universe. One day that it all happened.
Hmm, would the way solar systems work, clearly now we agree how they do, would that knowledge have eventually presented itself to mankind regardless of Galileo and Kepler? Like the knowledge of fire and the way that the sun produces energy, the facts would have been discovered, because it's there, all we have to do is look closely and we can begin to understand.
If there was one big bang in our part of the universe, that our galaxy and the others around it are made of, why couldn't there be another big bang, further off, that probably went off either before or after ours? Couldn't there be as many of those big bangs as there are galaxies that we see? Our telescopes might not be able to see the distant big bang areas because of the distances. Maybe quasars are the light from a distant universe. Now this new bigger collection of big bangs isn't as small as our original big bang used to be. Our big bang is just another "star" or "galaxy" like thing in this new larger universe. The distances between big bangs would be like the distances between galaxies, hard to measure, vast, unknown. Now time is also askew, not just one event 40 billion years ago, our big bang events happened and happened like cosmic winters many seasons past, as we imagine the idea of an ageless collection of expanding and contracting universes that interacted with each other on the outer edges. Perhaps these universes orbit yet another astronomical anomaly like a black hole that could encompass millions of galaxies inside of it, and it will reach a point that it will really bang big, seeding space with the elements of existence. The orbits of the universes may play upon the arms of yet another "galaxy like" swirl where the suns are made up of the things that we call universes today. And in a trillion trillion years it could all change, but still not effect the distant glow of another place of being that is farther off even from all that we will see when our eyes first will see beyond what we can see today.
Do you want to see a far away universe, that is probably a lot like ours? Set up a nice telescope in space as wide as the orbit of earth and see what you can see. Ok, it will take years, but I hope mankind's toolset will keep increasing so we can understand the universe we live in, and wonder if we can visit the universe next to ours.
This is what I call thinking out of the box!
© 2008 Brian L Hughes