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Subject: Universe looks the same from every direction, Could this be why??

Date: Tue Jul 13 22:28:04 1999
Posted by Robert
Grade level: School: Self Employed
City: Melbourne State/Province: Victoria Country: Australia
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 931922884.As Message:
Hi I read an artical here & somewhere else that states that an Alien in a diffeent Galaxy would see the EXACT same night sky as we do and that it would be the same all over. HERE IT IS THEN, If this is true, ALL I can imagine is that we are inside the outward expanding ball of the big bang explosion & that the inside wall (Our night sky), is mirror like, that reflects everything eg. If you were to place a ball in the dead centre of a mirrored box, (And stand on the ball) all would look the same in every direction. I hope that ive been able to clearly project my thoughts. Any idea's on why it all looks the same from ANYWHERE would be appreciated. Many Thanks Rob

As usual with astronomy, things are not that simple. When astronomers say the Universe looks the same no matter where you are, it's not literal; we mean that the Universe looks generally the same. You'd see about the same number of spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, clusters and voids no matter where you are.

The Big Bang was not literally an explosion, and the Universe is not really a giant ball. This is a commonly used analogy, but like most analogies can get you in trouble if you try to interpret it too literally! We are not on the outer surface of a ball, but embedded in all of space itself. So it's not like we are outside the Universe looking in, or inside looking out. We are stuck inside it, and everywhere we look we are seeing the inside.

These types of questions are the hardest to ask, the hardest to answer and certainly the hardest to understand! There are some websites out there that might help though. Try Ned Wright's cosmology page (though a lot of that is tough going), the USENET newsgroup sci.astro FAQ page, or even the sci.physics FAQ page. From those pages you'll find many more that will help you learn all about the weird Universe in which we live. i

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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