# Question concerning age of the Universe

From what I’ve read, it seems that the consensus on the age of the Universe is roughly Fourteen & a half billion years old. I suppose it was just a matter of taking the universe as it is today and following it back to the big bang and then you have your answer.
What I don’t understand is that if time is relative to the observer and the Earth is a relative latecomer in the game (not to mention the people), What perspective does the 14 billion correspond to? From the vantage point of the big bang itself? Or both the Earth and the starting point of the Universe (wherever that is)? That doesn’t seem to make sense.

Keep in mind that, while time is relative, time dilation doesn’t REALLY start to become a significant problem until one starts attaining significant fractions of C… such as 70% or 80% the speed of light.

However, it looks like you’re asking if there is a universal reference point where everything looks as it’s supposed to. The best answer I can give you: there’s not. The best we can do is point out that, in our universal neighborhood, anyway, pretty much everything is moving at a very similar speed, roughly, and that any discrepancy isn’t enough to completely shatter our estimates of the universe’s age.

Further, while Earth may be a “relative latecomer”, the original matter that we were eventually created out of was flung in our direction and has been travelling along what has been more or less a straight line, since the dawn of time.

Even further… there have been some recent evidences that indicate that light has had an alteration to its speed at some time in the past. I haven’t heard much more on that, but it just goes to show that our perceptions - and, thus, descriptions of those perceptions - are based locally. Ergo, 14.5 billion years is 14.5 billion of OUR years. A galaxy that’s been travelling a hundred thousand kilometers per second faster than ours might measure the universe to be 20 billion years old, for instance.

My cat tells me that you may find these results from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) enlightening.

That’s exactly the answer I was looking for. Thank you.

The Earth (as in big lump of very hot stuff with some tiny amount of non-hot stuff) doesn’t matter. The measurements of this are from the point in space occupied by the Earth. Take away the Earth, same observations. (To within reason.)

It’s the point in space that matters, not the stuff that is at that point in space. You can consider a given point in space to have been in existence since the BB. And since all points in space are the same for these purposes, the Earth is just a nice base for telescopes.

http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_mm/mr_age.html
13.7 billion…
a bit younger than you suggested.

Still, what’s a billion years here or there…

SF worldbuilding at
http://www.orionsarm.com/main.html

I wondered the same thing. What if you could suddenly appear in the area of a star that’s as far out as we’ve been able to see? If you continued looking in the same direction (awayy from Earth), what would you see?

And to take Mr. Blue Sky’s questions a literal step further, what if after you made this sudden jump, you made another jump to suddenly appear in the area as far as can been seen in the same direction, what would you see?

I know there is no “edge” to the universe, but what happens? Do you eventually come back to earth?

If you suddenly appeared 13.7 billion light-years west of here and continued looking west, you’d see essentially the same things you see here.

It is assumed that the universe is basically homogenous. Things are pretty much the same anywhere you go, and appear pretty much the same wherever you might look. (Obviously, we’re speaking about fairly large scales here.)

And since you’re travelling instantaneously, your view at the new location would be restricted to light 13.7 bilion years old and less, just like here at home.

Same thing. Each time you look around, you’re going to see basically the same kinds of things. Unless, of course, by chance you happen to land in a molecular cloud or something similarly exotic.

The most recent information I’ve seen is that the universe is flat. IANAC, but I interpret that to mean that you could not return to your point of origin by traveling in one constant direction.

If you kept jumping 13.7 billion light years at at time, I wonder how far you’d have to go before you see nothing? Or could you?

If you kept making instantaneous jumps, you’d always be surrounded by light that was 13.7 billion years old or less.

That’s a plausible hypothesis, but AFAIK, completely untestable