Is the universe shrinking?

i heard that using some mathmatical formulas, scientist discovered that the universe has alreadyt reachd maximum size and has started imploding back upon itself. although it won’t happen for trillions of years, nontheless, it is shrinking. i’m kinda drunk right now and can’t think logically, so i’m counting on you. the guy i was arguing with tried to site something called the red effect (something about ,as he explained it, that if stars are traveling away from us, it reflects red, or something)

is this horseshit?
is the universe still expanding or imploding?

We’re all here, because we’re not all there!

Horseshit would be a good word.

The by and large most popular belief among cosmologists these days is that the universe will expand forever, and might even be expanding at an every increasing rate.

Aww undead.

Perfect set up for you to expound on doppler light shifts and you passed it up.

Metro, I believe your friend meant to say red shift, not red effect. I will leave the explaination to Undead dude as he is expert in putting phisics into laymans terms.

Maybe he was just trying desperately to explain why your penis was smaller.

I could be wrong about that but when you get into that whole “the universe is shrinking thing” it usually gets personal. It could involve your brain too. I don’t know.


Awww. Well, that is very sweet. :slight_smile:
Well, okay.

I can only assume that your friend was talking about “red shift”, as EvilGhandi said. How he could use it to suggest that the universe is shrinking is a true mystery, worthy of Scooby and the gang.

Ya know what the “doppler effect” is?
When a firetruck approaches, and then passes you, you can hear the siren drop in tone. Actually, you can even hear this in the sound of a car engine as a car whips by you as well.

The reason this happens is because when a car is approaching you, sound emanates out at a certain speed, but the car is chasing the sound so to speak. The sound forms waves, but because the car is moving into the sound, the wavelengths are made shorter. A shortened wavelength means a higher pitch.

Then the car passes you, and the now the car is moving away from the sound that is coming towards you. This has the reverse effect. The wavelengths of the sound become longer. Longer wavelength means lower pitch.

The same thing happens with light, except that with light, a shorter wavelength means that light looks more bluish/violetish (called a “blue shift”), while a longer wavelength means that light looks more reddish (called a “red shift”).

So if a spaceship is flying towards you very quickly, the color of the ship would be shifted to be a bit more blue, and if it was flying away from you, it would be a bit more red.

Well, distant stars most definitely appear red shifted. This is an indication that they are moving away from us, and that helps to support the idea that the universe is expanding.

So again, I have no idea what this guy would have been saying about the red shift to suggest that the universe is shrinking.

LOL!! I didn’t intend to say that the small penis comments were sweet, but rather the nice things that EvilGhandi said about me.

I knew I could count on you. you guys are the best!

We’re all here, because we’re not all there!

IIRC, there hasn’t been enough mass discovered to exert enough gravitational pull to recollapse the universe back into it’s pre-big bang form. Physicists are still looking for dark matter, right? If enough previously undetectable matter was somehow discovered, that would mean that the universe would eventually slow down, stop, then collapse.

I’ve heard that the expansion could actually speed up, but I’ll be damned if I can understand why. How could a speed up coincide with conservation of mass/energy?Undead Dude?

Maybe it is.

I thought my drive to work today was shorter.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Mind if I point ya’ll to another thread with a similar debate?

And here’s a very appropiate sig line for this thread.

Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

While we’re on the subject…has anyone tackled THIS yet and if so, can someone expalin it to a layman? When we talk of the universe expanding or shrinking, what are we saying? I’ve heard the analogy of the universe being like a spotted balloon in which all of the dots become further apart as the balloon expands but this does not hold up. Where exactly is the balloon? By which I mean, does the universe have distinct edges? If so, what’s beyond them? Is God’s house on one side (the nice side) and Satan’s on the other? And where was all this cosmic stuff before the big bang? I’ll accept that it was all collected in a singularity but again, where was this singularity? It couldn’t have been just hanging there in space because there was no space. Anyone? Anyone?

Phil Saoud:

Where exactly is the balloon? By which I mean, does the universe have distinct edges?**

The balloon is simply an analogy. The surface of the balloon is intended to represent space. The analogy shouldn’t be taken too far. It does not mean there is something “outside” space.

If it helps, think of it like this: where does a circle end? You know the answer: it doesn’t. Now imagine somebody asking, “What happens after the end of the circle?” The question simply doesn’t make sense.

The universe doesn’t have an edge – and it doesn’t have a center. (“Where does the circle start?”)

As for where the original singularity “was”, it was where it was. There was nowhere else for it to be.

As for why it was … I haven’t a clue.

Yes,it IS shrinking,and it’s because it was put on the hot cycle during the wash!

There was a short story in which astronauts went out into space and when they came back to Earth, they were giants. It turned out that the Earth was shrinking away from the rest of the universe, which accounted for the red shift.

The consensus (if there is such a thing among cosmologists) on the state of affairs immediately preceding the big bang - all matter, all energy and all spacetime of our present-day universe were contained within the singularity before the bang. When the process started, space began to expand, in all directions at an accelerating rate, (the acceleration continues to this day) and time (which was frozen in the singularity) was set into motion. The clock began ticking, in other words.

Since all points in the universe were at the same place before the bang, all points in the universe now are at the “center” of the original singularity. The large-scale structures we see in the cosmos are racing away from each other at an increasing rate of speed not because they were thrown outward from a central location, (vis-a-vis a conventional explosion) but because the the space between them is expanding in all directions. Unless and until scientists are able to discover a sufficient amount of matter to provide the density that will “close” the universe, (stop its expansion) it will continue to expand forever into what has been generally termed “the big freeze.”

Cosmologists and others had pinned their hopes on “dark matter” and/or being able to assign mass to subatomic particles currently thought to be without, but such efforts have not accounted for more than about 30% of the critical mass needed to close the process.

I have found the works of the noted cosmologist Timothy Ferris to be of utmost value in understanding the current state of cosmological thinking. One of his more recent books The Whole Shebang provides without a doubt the clearest, most concise explanations of the big bang and what happened afterward.

For those interested in the marriage of general relativity and quantum mechanics into the Holy Grail of physics, a “theory of everything,” check out The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene.

Superstring theory appears to be the road the physicists, cosmologists and quantum mechanics will be following for decades into the coming millenium.