Viewing the universe as a solid mass

If a being or some kind or a giant camera were to step outside the univers and view it how big would they have to be to see it as a solid mass if ever. Would they have to be as large as the existing universe, smaller or many times larger?

I think the only way to view it is from another dimension?

The is no outside the universe in any meaningful sense. The universe doesn’t exist in a huge empty space; the universe comprises all space.

Why would the viewer have to be large? The viewer might be a camera as big as a ham sandwich. The Hubble Telescope is, what, about as big as a moving van?

The difficulty isn’t in the size of the viewer; the difficulty is finding a place from which to do the viewing.

If one could “step back” into a higher dimension (a la the book “Flatland”) and look at the cosmos, that would be mighty nifty! One could see all the large-scale structures which we have to infer indirectly. Presumably, one could see those extents of the cosmos that we can’t see because they are over the light-speed “horizon” and lost to our sight forever.

If the “Cosmic Principle” is correct, everywhere in this cosmos looks pretty much like everywhere else. There are stars, grouped together in galaxies, grouped together in clusters, and super-clusters, all against a dark 3-degree Kelvin microwave background. If you go out into your back yard at night and look up – well, that’s what our cosmos looks like, from just about any viewpoint at all.

I assume you’re starting from the fact that what we call solid matter “is mostly empty space”? Well the major difference between solid matter and the universe at a large scale is that solid matter interacts with radiation in a much greater degree than the large scale universe does. “Zooming out” won’t change that.

At least 47 billion light years?

I mean that’s about how far we can see and it doesn’t look like a solid mass.

Really that’s about as far as anyone in the universe can see.
As Trinopus said, I think the trick is to step outside of it somehow. Like if you were looking at a model of the know universe the size of a basketball, it probably would look like a solid ball of light.

I can see my house from here!

Can you see Russia, too? Maybe Tina Fey was correct?

But dim.
Like the night sky, assuming Olber’s Paradox holds for the Universe as a whole.

If you could step outside the universe, assuming there is something to step out into, you may not see anything, since light would have to leave the universe too, in order to make it to your camera.

Our universe fits in a box that exists in an alternate universe. That alternate universe sits in a box in my den. So I’d have to say it’s not very large at all. Or really huge, it’s hard to tell.

*“My God, it’s full of stars!”

Many years ago, when i took my first college astronomy class, they showed us a film called the powers of 10. Watch that if you can find it.

The terms you’re using are really badly defined in this context. To see literally, you need light, but light doesn’t go outside of the universe. For a distant observer, light is normally redshifted - this is the main explanation for why the sky isn’t blazing white with light at night. If you’re viewing the observable universe from a far distance with a magic camera/telescope, you’ll have to figure out how to account for red shift - it’s really easy to end up with a view that’s either redshifted entirely out of visual range or glowing blindingly bright depending on how you make it work. Seeing a solid mass is confusing even if you sort that out, I’m not really sure if you mean seeing it as a glowing point of light or something else.

Also, you’ll have to figure out what’s outside of the observable universe and account for that - the observable universe (which is usually what astronomers mean when they say ‘the universe’) is a sphere of a finite size, and while it’s not known whether the universe is infinite in extent, has a boundary of some sort, or curve back into itself, it is known that if it’s finite, it’s significantly larger than what we can see.

You could wait for it to leave.

Of course, if you crammed the entire universe into a basketball, it would form a black hole and nothing could leave it. Which it could be already for all we know.

It’s 9 minutes long: Powers of Ten™ (1977) - YouTube

Here is their website: Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe - Eames Office

Java applet: Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Secret Worlds: The Universe Within - Interactive Flash Tutorial

Just because: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Size Comparison - YouTube