Friday, October 23, 2015

Believing What You See

I heard a recent radio program about cosmology, which includes not just the beginning of the universe but its end as well. Cosmologists have pretty much abandoned the idea of an oscillating universe; Nobel-prize-winning research showed that an inflation event soon after the Big Bang has caused galaxies to fly apart faster and faster forever. The energy source for this inflation seems to be dark energy, whatever that is.

One consequence of this is that, were an astronomer in the far distant future to look out into the sky, he or she or it would see only the stars of our galaxy, should any still be burning. The other galaxies would have moved away faster and faster, eventually moving away at the speed of light, at which time they would be invisible. Should this astronomer have any stories or images left over from us, about billions of galaxies, would not this astronomer simply believe his, her, or its own eyes, and considered our belief in galaxies to be mere fables?

And since there is no evidence of the Big Bang within our galaxy, such a future astronomer would be unable to deduce this fundamental explanation of the history of everything.

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