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(Big Think)   In our expanding Universe, you really could travel in a straight line forever. But you might not get anywhere interesting, even if you did   (bigthink.com) divider line
    More: Creepy, General relativity, Universe, Big Bang, Galaxy, Dark matter, expanding Universe, light-years, straight line  
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859 clicks; posted to STEM » on 28 Jan 2022 at 12:35 PM (22 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-01-28 11:15:01 AM  
Odds are you'd never hit a thing.
 
2022-01-28 12:32:14 PM  
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
― Douglas Adams,  'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.'
 
2022-01-28 12:57:56 PM  
Ok.....and?
 
2022-01-28 1:04:04 PM  
I see the universe as shaped like a torus. You travel straight in any direction you will wind up in the same place you started, but you would not have circumnavigated the entire universe.
 
2022-01-28 1:04:45 PM  
Well Voyager will find out.

The more complicated matter here is how are we defining "straight line"?
 
2022-01-28 1:13:40 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-01-28 1:32:49 PM  

edmo: Odds are you'd never hit a thing.


That's why it is called, 'space'.  THere is a lot of space in space.
 
2022-01-28 1:36:26 PM  
If you're interested in space and have not watched Isaac Arthur's YouTube channel you owe it to yourself to check it out.

We are destined head out into the stars, his views and the science backing them has given me hope.
 
2022-01-28 1:51:47 PM  
The actual universe within our theoretical cone of causality is exceedingly tiny compared to what we can see.
 
2022-01-28 2:29:01 PM  
I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.
 
2022-01-28 2:41:00 PM  

madgonad: I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.


That's... an interesting question. Any Fark Astrophysics GED graduates want to weigh in on that?
 
2022-01-28 2:50:05 PM  
I first heard about this from Land of the Lost when they looked far away through binoculars & saw themselves.

Fark user imageView Full Size


/my 10 year old mind blown.
 
2022-01-28 2:59:47 PM  

madgonad: I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.


Most current theories are that dark matter provides the gravity required for anything to form and hold together, no matter the scale involved. Lots of numbers being put in supercomputers told us that even the densest pockets of atoms never had the gravity required to collapse into even a clump of dirt, let alone planets or larger.

Take the scale back a bit. A star makes up 99.999999999999% of the matter in a solar system. It is the anchor for the rest of the matter to orbit around, and creates the plane of the system because of the spin the star has. By contrast, supermassive black holes only represent .00000000001% of the matter of the galaxy that orbits them. Yet somehow the same rules apply, where the entire plane of the galaxy is aligned with the black hole, even though they shouldnt be. The edges are somehow still bound to the galaxy when they move at speeds that should have let them escape based on the matter we can see. We have the math and observational effects of gravity that tell us the matter is THERE, we just cant figure out what it actually is yet. Once we do we will have so many answered questions, but until then anything that involves gravity in its question in any way is only partly answered
 
2022-01-28 3:42:06 PM  

madgonad: I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.



Take three points, A and B in Andromeda, and a 3rd point on the same line C, at Earth.The light from the far side of the galaxy at point A travels X=180K LY distance across the disk to get to Point B. Light from point B is emitted and travels Y 2.25M LY distance from B across space to Earth point C.

So the total distance of light from A is X+Y, and it works out to be about an 8% difference.

If you were at point B in Andromeda, emitting the light we are picking up now, the light from A would already be 180k- years old by the time it got to you.

The light we're seeing from A is the same 'view' that people at B would have seen when the light from B was emitted.

We don't consider the light from the other side of our own galaxy to be 'distorted', so we don't consider the light from the other side of Andromeda 'distorted'.
 
2022-01-28 3:51:16 PM  
Hydrogen compresses into stars, which make other elements then blow up to spread 'em around.  Those new elements coalesce into slightly different stars with interesting rocks around them.

This same process happens everywhere in the sky, almost as far back as the CMB.

Even if you continually hit planets as you traveled in a straight line, even if you could go FTL and so travel further than the current observable universe... all you would find would be more rocks.  You're never going to find an 'energy planet' or a place where gravity is backwards or whatever.  The same laws of physics and the same raw materials can create a LOT of variations on a theme, but ultimately the theme will not change.  It can't.
 
2022-01-28 4:08:13 PM  
"You'e on the right track, just make a portable worm-hole LOL.
BTW, maybe stop killing each other, hee hee."

i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
2022-01-28 4:56:34 PM  
If it fitter, I de Sitter.
 
2022-01-28 6:45:33 PM  

PirateKing: madgonad: I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.


Take three points, A and B in Andromeda, and a 3rd point on the same line C, at Earth.The light from the far side of the galaxy at point A travels X=180K LY distance across the disk to get to Point B. Light from point B is emitted and travels Y 2.25M LY distance from B across space to Earth point C.

So the total distance of light from A is X+Y, and it works out to be about an 8% difference.

If you were at point B in Andromeda, emitting the light we are picking up now, the light from A would already be 180k- years old by the time it got to you.

The light we're seeing from A is the same 'view' that people at B would have seen when the light from B was emitted.

We don't consider the light from the other side of our own galaxy to be 'distorted', so we don't consider the light from the other side of Andromeda 'distorted'.


yeah, that's pretty close.

Let me propose what I am talking about in a sandbox.

Suppose that our sun, and two other stars are in perfect alignment (a straight line drawn between them) in the sequence Sol -> Alpha -> Bravo. They are moving at the exact velocity in the exact same direct - preserving their perfect alignment. There is a ten light year gap between Sol / Alpha and Alpha / Bravo. Would the observer one Earth ever be able to see Bravo?
 
2022-01-28 7:08:24 PM  

madgonad: Let me propose what I am talking about in a sandbox.

Suppose that our sun, and two other stars are in perfect alignment (a straight line drawn between them) in the sequence Sol -> Alpha -> Bravo. They are moving at the exact velocity in the exact same direct - preserving their perfect alignment. There is a ten light year gap between Sol / Alpha and Alpha / Bravo. Would the observer one Earth ever be able to see Bravo?


We could "see" Bravo from the gravitational effects it has on other bodies. We might not be able to tell exactly what it would be, but we would know it was there and at least a star (microlensing). Now if Bravo was a massive star and Alpha was smaller our chances to see Alpha would depend on the distance involved between the three because of redshifting (I think)
 
2022-01-28 8:06:24 PM  
Science is not my strong point, as hard as that may be to believe. With that in mind here are my thoughts:
Spacetime can be curved, such as by a black hole. Using human sexuality for an analogy, the universe is bisexual, there's nothing straight about it. Not only that, but once you get away from any solid physical objects you will no longer be able to say you are traveling straight. Straight relative to what? If your origin point is Earth and you head 'straight' north, how will you know you aren't traveling the teensiest bit NNW when you are about 50 trillion light years away?
 
2022-01-28 8:14:32 PM  

madgonad: I have an actual science question that a friend that works for NASA couldn't answer.

When we look outside of our own galaxy, why aren't other galaxies distorted?

Seriously, why do they have clean structures. For example I'll use the Andromeda galaxy as an example because it is big, nearby, and is tilted at an angle (not viewed top-down or edge-on).

Follow with me. The Andromeda galaxy is 220,000 light years across. I don't know the exact angle of its presentation to us, but lets just guess that the closest stars are around 180,000 light years closer than those that are the furthest form us. It takes 250 million years for Andromeda to rotate once. If you do the math the back of Andromeda should be visibly about 20 arcminutes behind where it really is so there should be some distortion between front and back. I have never heard of this measurement or if images that we see have been 'corrected' for the distortion of distance and time in the same way that digital cameras using post-processing to adjust for barrel distortion or rectilinear alignment.


I think there are a couple problems. First is the difficulty in measurement - the margins of error on distance estimates are an order of magnitude larger than the estimated diameter of the entire galaxy, so we can't place an individual object precisely enough to say what the distortion effect on it should be.

Another measurement problem is that the distortion will largely be in time and not space. Stars at the front of the galaxy would appear older than stars at the back, but they would still trace the same circular path through the sky, and again we don't have a definitive way to place stars in Andromeda precisely enough in space or in time to compare.

Lastly we've only been observing Andromeda for a vanishingly small percentage of a single rotation. It's effectively unchanged on the grand scale. If we could follow a single star on a full rotation, we would see the effect.

Interestingly enough, the effect does manifest and we can measure it when we can place the observed object precisely in both space and time. One of the early observational proofs of the speed of light was in explaining the differences in the observed times of the appearance of the moons of Jupiter from behind the planet, which seemed to start running late every six months but would then catch up. The difference could be explained fully by a constant speed of light and the increased distance from Jupiter as the Earth orbits the Sun.

It's a great question. Someone could definitely write a few papers exploring it, and with JWST you might be able to get the level of precision necessary to measure it.
 
2022-01-28 9:45:37 PM  
While I assume linking to Big Think is somehow useful to someone, the bottom line with all these Siegel articles (at least one daily, of late, for some reason) is as follows.

1. He's not a very good writer. The argument that "You're just too dumb to understand him" doesn't make him a better writer.

2. He doesn't have anything new to say. He doesn't, because he truly doesn't. For people who are interested in the STEM field, he's always horribly behind the curve. He compulsively fails to add anything new.

3. Siegel got kicked off Forbes, ffs. A brand so uninteresting that even they couldn't bother to retain him. So now we're dealing with Blogspot For The Longwinded.

4. Siegel is not a "science communicator", he's a textbook textbook copier. That is all he does. He provides no insight, no cunning path forward, no hope.

5. Siegel is not a researcher of anything. He has nothing to add to anything.

The folk on Fark who support this guy ...well, I guess I don't understand you. Maybe you're coming from a place where "Any science article is a good science article! Spreading knowledge is important!"

And, that's right. But I need to mention two things:

(1) I can get behind that. If you're in a death-struggle between the wild forces of superstition and empirical reality, then, maybe, okay. Any knowledge is better than no knowledge. And, honestly, it's far from impossible that any US citizen is more than 20 feet away from that challenge. Fighting for knowledge is important, and I accept and respect that.

(2) If you accept argument (1), then describing people who don't think Siegel is great as dumb obliterates your case on argument (1), so what the heck are you doing here?
 
2022-01-28 10:28:56 PM  

PartTimeBuddha: While I assume linking to Big Think is somehow useful to someone, the bottom line with all these Siegel articles (at least one daily, of late, for some reason) is as follows.

1. He's not a very good writer. The argument that "You're just too dumb to understand him" doesn't make him a better writer.

2. He doesn't have anything new to say. He doesn't, because he truly doesn't. For people who are interested in the STEM field, he's always horribly behind the curve. He compulsively fails to add anything new.

3. Siegel got kicked off Forbes, ffs. A brand so uninteresting that even they couldn't bother to retain him. So now we're dealing with Blogspot For The Longwinded.

4. Siegel is not a "science communicator", he's a textbook textbook copier. That is all he does. He provides no insight, no cunning path forward, no hope.

5. Siegel is not a researcher of anything. He has nothing to add to anything.

The folk on Fark who support this guy ...well, I guess I don't understand you. Maybe you're coming from a place where "Any science article is a good science article! Spreading knowledge is important!"

And, that's right. But I need to mention two things:

(1) I can get behind that. If you're in a death-struggle between the wild forces of superstition and empirical reality, then, maybe, okay. Any knowledge is better than no knowledge. And, honestly, it's far from impossible that any US citizen is more than 20 feet away from that challenge. Fighting for knowledge is important, and I accept and respect that.

(2) If you accept argument (1), then describing people who don't think Siegel is great as dumb obliterates your case on argument (1), so what the heck are you doing here?


For 2 and 5, so what? He doesn't present himself as a researcher or a blog for professionals.

For the rest, yeah, we know you're not a fan.

It's got nothing to do with whether people who like the guy are smart and people who don't are dumb. It's that the people in the latter category can't seem to just ignore him.
 
2022-01-29 6:17:36 AM  

qorkfiend: can't seem to just ignore him.


I can and do ignore him. The puzzle is why a subset of farkers cleave to him with (currently daily) religious devotion. It can't be because they're STEM-passionate, because he's only repeating what they already knew.

There's good and great STEM stuff out there. I don't yet understand why Siegel's followers are so determined to rummage around in the sticky end of the litterbox.
 
2022-01-29 7:27:01 AM  

PartTimeBuddha: qorkfiend: can't seem to just ignore him.

I can and do ignore him. The puzzle is why a subset of farkers cleave to him with (currently daily) religious devotion. It can't be because they're STEM-passionate, because he's only repeating what they already knew.

There's good and great STEM stuff out there. I don't yet understand why Siegel's followers are so determined to rummage around in the sticky end of the litterbox.


Sure you do. That's why you come into these threads with lengthy posts about how terrible he is. Because you're ignoring him.
 
2022-01-29 7:52:26 AM  
I just flew through space in a straight line forever. And boy, are my arms tired!
 
2022-01-29 7:54:13 AM  
That's why they call it space
Youtube X0kVCvGT_r8
 
2022-01-29 7:54:56 AM  
i.redd.itView Full Size
 
2022-01-29 8:02:30 AM  

qorkfiend: PartTimeBuddha: qorkfiend: can't seem to just ignore him.

I can and do ignore him. The puzzle is why a subset of farkers cleave to him with (currently daily) religious devotion. It can't be because they're STEM-passionate, because he's only repeating what they already knew.

There's good and great STEM stuff out there. I don't yet understand why Siegel's followers are so determined to rummage around in the sticky end of the litterbox.

Sure you do. That's why you come into these threads with lengthy posts about how terrible he is. Because you're ignoring him.


Poor communication of science can do more damage than not communicating science at all. Ethan is someone you can tell failed high school english many times over. Think about how we were taught to properly structure a paper in school. You have your introduction/hypothesis/question paragraph, your core content paragraphs (which are supposed to be in the same order as you stated in your introduction), and your conclusion. Lets use this garbage farticle as an example.

In his intro, he asks 1) if all galaxies are unique. 2) about the curvature of the universe (seeing the same thing from both sides at the same time). 3) If the universe loops on itself (yes he asked the same thing in a different way for no reason at all). 4) If the universe is a sphere and you would end up at your starting point if you went in a straight line far enough....which is the exact same as the last two questions. 5) Or if something would stop you partway through the trip, because using a comma properly is a skill he never mastered.

Then he uses a new paragraph to quote someone and ask THE EXACT SAME QUESTION FOR THE FIFTH FARKING TIME

Then, he seemingly moves onto the content phase by saying that you would do both at once and will explain how....Eventually. Apparently, even though this article is supposed to be about unique galaxies and the shape of the universe, we need to have a VERY detailed explanation of how the speed of light works and why we are looking into the past when we look at the sky. Almost 400 words that have no actual meaning at all to the point at hand. You could literally skip the entire thing and be better off because after that he actually goes into the main question, but first decides that after saying "straight line" over and over he needs you to look at how a triangle is drawn on 3 different shapes

Ok now we will get to the point. Finally. Almost 800 words into the farticle. Any english teacher would have failed you already for wasting so much time getting to the point. He....wait sorry. We just hit the detailed "expansion of the universe" tangent. For another close to 800 words. We are now close to 1600 words into this crap and we STILL have not even started to actually answer the initial question (oh but we did very quickly tell you that we have not observed any repeating structures in the universe. Took 1200 words to get to that).

Ok, NOW we get to the answers. We could travel in a straight line forever, but only until the universe ended its life, and possibly return to our starting point right before the universe ends. We could return to our starting point as long as our universe is finite, but not if its infinite (thank you captain obvious). Or he says the actual answer is that we could travel forever as a unit of time but never cover the space because of expansion and lightspeed limits.


Its horrible writing. I have said it over and over, if he bothered to pull his head out of his ass and learn how to write well instead of just having word diarrhea splattered over the original question he would actually be pretty good at what he does. But there is no reason to use 2189 words to explain something that a competent writer could do in 800 or less. That is why he is such a failure: his faults are obvious and easily fixable, but he refuses to do so
 
2022-01-29 5:37:56 PM  

qorkfiend: Sure you do. That's why you come into these threads with lengthy posts about how terrible he is. Because you're ignoring him.


I'm happy ignoring him. He's established time and time again that he has nothing useful, innovative, or amusing to say. He's just a blogger who isn't terribly good at blogging. He imagines himself a "science communicator", but he's neither very good at science nor communication. So, I ignore him.

But ignoring these threads is a different matter. Ignoring the weird fetish that surrounds this hapless third-rater is a different matter. You know what's always missing in these threads? Someone saying, "Wow, Siegel really opened my eyes to this!" You know what's always present in these threads? Someone defending Siegel without any reference to anything he's done.

So, yes. I'll keep turning up. And my post will be copypasted and adapted. It will likely get longer, and ever more accurate. I don't get why you and a half-handful of others keep boosting him, when he's clearly not very good at what he does.

I guess the happiest case would be that such posts fit into whatever business model you're operating.
 
2022-01-29 10:03:21 PM  
But.. What if, faster than light travel were possible via folding..Could you travel outside of space? Or of "warp speed", travel to the edge then warp to what?Do you fall off the edge of space?Flat space!
 
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