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4:18 am and the clock goes tick-tick-tick Musings

So there I am awake.

In this contemplation I’m thinking two things. Once again it’s space.

  1. If you’re travelling through space, at the speed of light, and you look out the front window, what does it look like?
  2. Just in general, why isn’t space bright like a lightbulb all over?

This is pretty long and perhaps boring but it’s really fascinating, or at least #2 is, and spoiler alert for #1 I still have no real idea.

So, #2 First because I’m not the only one to have though of this, however sensible people have, and they said “Why isn’t the night sky black” and not “why when I’m floating in space is it not bright”. As you do.

So, why isn’t the universe bright as a lightbulb, after all it’s an infinite universe, with an infinite number of stars, and they’re all light sources, so why isn’t the universe bright like a sun. Or like some smart alec says, why is the night sky dark?

Why isn’t the light from an infinite number of suns enough to light the darkness of the universe? (or the night sky if you want to keep it local)

And I’ve spent a lot of cycles pondering this seeming conundrum, Why don’t an infinite number of suns light the night sky, why is there darkness.

Strange as it sounds I was watching a TV quiz show and the answer is that the answer to my vexation is summed up in what is called Olbers Paradox, some chap who lived  a few years ago (1758-1840)

The solution to this conundrum or paradox really is in me not thinking about some things, that I’d prefer to believe over other creationist solutions.

  1. That the universe is expanding.
  2. That the universe is expanding because of the big bang.
  3. That infinite means ‘quite a long distance away”.

Taking the list above, and going from  #2 – Because of #1 there are stars so far far away, like an infinite distance, that their light cannot have reached, or may never reach here. So if they are there, their light isn’t, but one day, when if it ever gets here, the universe will eventually light up like a lighbulb.

#1  – That the stars ended so far away that the light has an infinite distance to travel.

But, and this is where it get all a bit clearer, for me, is that, you can show that the universe/night sky should/could be as bright as a lightbulb. For this though you have to go one more step.

Light frequency, background radiation  and wavelengths.

So, big bang =  the inflation of the universe, everything close, everything far away.

Light sources.  Light that is from a source that is moving rapidly away stretches out, and becomes microwaves, and it turns out that the universe is chock full of background microwave signals, everywhere you point a detector, all over.

The light sources used to be there, and then they were a long way away, and the light from those sources was stretched out a lot, into the microwave spectrum and disappeared from visible view, ie we can’t see them, they became microwaves

But we can detect them, and I don’t think there is any suggestion that the background microwave radiation is a figment, it’s real and it’s there, undisputed.

To sum it up, and I wish I wasn’t so tired in my thinking at 4:18, the dark sky paradox can be explained using the big bang/ rapidly inflating universe theory, they were there once, briefly and now they are so far away that their light hasn’t reached us.

And so back to

  1. If you’re travelling through space, at the speed of light, and you look out the front window, what does it look like?

Well, The light spectrum would have you think that after it goes purple it all disappears into black, I’ve not done anything near as much thinking about this as I have the dark sky thing, but if if, when you look out of the front window when you’re going at light speed, it’s not purple then I’ve got nothing.

I think it should be from that visible spectrum of light from red to purple. in some kind of giant canvas vomit of technicolor.

I need to either watch more quiz shows or google more

If you are interested the wikipedia entry for Olbers Theory is  is: here 

Olbers’ paradox, named after the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers (1758–1840), also known as the “dark night sky paradox“, is the argument that the darkness of the night sky conflicts with the assumption of an infinite and eternal static universe.

The darkness of the night sky is one of the pieces of evidence for a dynamic universe, such as the Big Bang model.

In the hypothetical case that the universe is static, homogeneous at a large scale, and populated by an infinite number of stars, then any line of sight from Earth must end at the (very bright) surface of a star and hence the night sky should be completely illuminated and very bright. This contradicts the observed darkness and non-uniformity of the night.



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