The World is Flat!

… and by ‘world’, I mean, of course, the universe.

In the NY Times today was an article describing the results of the measurement of the variance of temperature of the background radiation… it’s 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc!!!

Now, for those of you, who, like me, didn’t grasp the significance of 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc, let me explain:

Theory: As the big bang exploded into the first moments of expanding space-time, the ‘fuzziness’ of quantum mechanics should have imprinted blotches of uneveness into the really hot radiation of creation (or ‘beginningness’ for you atheists). So, in ‘looking’ at the background radiation all around us that comes from the first moments of the big bang, the math says that the blotches should be the size of 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc of the sky.

And it is.

So, why does that mean a flat universe? In a closed universe (hyperhyperspherical, positive curvature, convex), parallel lines converge. This would have made the blotches appear less than 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc.

In an open uneverse (hyperhyperbolic, negative curvature, concave), parallel lines diverge. This would have made the blotches appear to be more than 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc.

But since they are 1[sup]o[/sup] of arc by measurement, then the universe is flat (Euclidean, hyperplanar, zero curvature).

(Except, of course, near any mass where there is local warping of space-time. We’re talking here of the universe, over all.)

This means that there still is missing matter and that there may be some mysterious force counteracting gravity that seems to exist in the nothingness of the the space between matter. (Which makes Einstein’s original fudge of a gravitational constant a player again in cosmology – until it can be explained by something else.)

IOW, this ‘finding’ is another piece of the puzzle that fills in one part of the picture only to show that the puzzle is larger than you think.

For a related thread:


What’s a “hyperhypersphere”? Don’t you mean just a ‘hypersphere’?


The variance in the temperature of the sky wasn’t one degree of arc, the diameter of the ripples in the variance were. OK, this is nitpicking and you were just phrasing it as James Gantz of the NY Times did in his article. The actual variance of the temperatures were fractions of a degree barely at the measurable resolution if the equipment being used. All of which was hampered by being in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Plus, science is always skeptical when people get the exact results they hope to get. So don’t be suprised if you see some negative reaction to the news in the next week. The peer review process is just beginning on this.

If it is confirmed (and I suspect it will be) it will pretty much confirm the inflationary universe model and the cosmological constant will once again be a hot topic in cosmology.

Jim Petty
An oak tree is just a nut that stood it’s ground

Ray: Just being cute. Since I use hyperhyperbola to mean a hyper-dimensional space with hyperbolic ‘straight’ line, I used the double ‘hyper’ with sphere for a sense of balance. Of course, ‘sphere’ isn’t correct either since a hyperelliptical space also has a positive curvature.

Timpy: Since you seem to be in the know, let me ask you this questions:

  1. Could the local warping of space in the Earth’s gravitational well significantly effect the conclusion?

  2. Assuming that space is flat now, can that change? Could space have been hyperbolic in its expansion, but there is enough matter and gravity to start pulling it back and reshaping it to a closed universe, and we are in the time of transition between the two?