What would we see at the edge of the universe?

05 June 2011

Question

Let's say we develop warp drive..say warp 1,000,000,000. We start at earth and travel 13.7 billion light years in any direction. When we get there-what will we see? Will there be a sign saying danger..slow down, universe ends in 10,000 light years, or will we simply see similar space and stars like we see here, with a further 13.7 billion light year limit in any direction. How far could we go like this?

Answer

Dominic - Wherever you are in the universe, if you look at the distribution of galaxies and galaxy clusters around you, you will find that the sky looks more or less the same as anywhere else, and that's because you can think of the universe as being a bit like a sphere, only a three-dimensional surface of a sphere. So on a sphere, you can go all the way around and come back to where you started again. The universe is not a two-dimensional surface. It's a sort of three-dimensional surface or four-dimensional sphere if you want to think of it that way. So, wherever you are on the surface of that sphere, you've got 13.8 billion light years worth of universe that you can see in any direction, full of galaxy and galaxy clusters.

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