Most astronomers of the world was taken aback by the results of the anisotropic microwave sensing conducted by NASA (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, NASA), which re-ignited the debate about the finiteness of the universe. Last week, a team of scientists announced the results of its analysis of observations relative to the size of our universe, which in their view appears relatively small, closed-mirror system, causing an illusory effect that, as if the space extends to infinity.
In the center of the debate — the results of observations of the spacecraft NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which was launched in 2001. His task was to study the residual background radiation in the universe, which is believed marked the beginning of the universe.
Astronomers are interested in how strong differences of amplitude and the size of the microwave background radiation fluctuations, as they reveal important information about the early universe and can tell us how big the universe today. Most astronomers used to think that the universe is infinite and flat. Now, after the new observations, their stereotypes have been the big question.
The fact is that if the universe were infinite, the microwave background should have an unlimited range of waves in the universe. But the WMAP observations have shown the presence of a strictly limited set of background radiation.
Computer processing of these observations that simulated the birth of the microwave background, showed the possibility of observing such pictures only in a situation where hundreds of observed reflections of the primary microwave background radiation from any obstacles. But it could mean that the universe itself is limited in size, which are closed sphere in four-dimensional space, not letting out the light.
Thus, the universe appears on one side of an infinite, because it has no beginning or end, and on the other — limited scope. In real space, we do not feel, as the three-dimensional space lies in the plane of the sphere, and wherever we did not fly, sooner or later return to the starting point.
From here follow the interesting conclusions — that the light from one galaxy to the Earth could go two different routes, so the same galaxy may appear to us in two different parts of the sky and in different time periods of its existence.
But what is most interesting — in one of these galaxies, we can eventually find our own and see themselves from what it was before — billions of years ago. To confirm these findings will need to search and compare the same type of galaxy to reveal their identity.
In fact, the universe is like a hall of mirrors, many times reflecting the same image inside.
Accordingly, it is easy to calculate the size of the universe. They were only 70 billion light-years across. But as in the physical sense to consider the length of the diameter of the circle of the sphere, the sphere of the Universe itself has a radius of 11 billion light years.
That is our space exists on the surface of some soap bubble, where you can travel and may be subject to interactions between matter. And there is nothing inside the bubble.
Calculations show that a key measure of the density of matter in the universe, which controls the curvature of space in this area, is about 1,013. Completely flat space would be consistent with the density of 1. Observations of the microwave background radiation, while estimates show the density somewhere between 1.00 and 1.04. Further observations of WMAP and other tools to provide a more accurate answer over the next few months.
UK CONTACT — Claire Bowles, claire.bowles @ rbi.co.uk, 44-207-331-2751, New Scientist
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