Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales

Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales

Guys, this video is a collaboration with
a great channel called beautiful science. If you haven’t seen it check it out. My
friend Chris makes short science videos using really cool animations. In a
previous video, we looked at the smallest scales. We attempted to visualize the
smallest size in the universe – the Planck length, which is about 1.6 X10^- 35 meters. This is so small, that if an atom was the size
of the earth… the Planck length would be smaller than
a proton. But the large scale size of the universe is equally mind-blowing. For
example, if the Sun was the size of a basketball, how far do you think the
nearest star Proxima Centauri, our neighbour would be? Would it be on the
other end of the basketball court? Would it be further, like maybe a mile away?
Maybe 10 miles away? Take a wild guess… you would have to keep going much
farther. If you were playing basketball in New York City, our neighbor Proxima
Centauri, would be about 4,500 miles away on a basketball court somewhere in
Moscow! And there are 10 sextillion such stars in the universe – that is 1 followed
by 22 zeros. And each one of them is approximately the same distance apart
from each other as Proxima Centauri is from the Sun. In fact, the universe is
bigger than even what our most powerful telescopes can see. How big is the
universe in terms of numbers? And in fact could it be infinite?
Is there any way we can even begin to visualize what infinity is? We just might
be able to do it. How?…That’s coming up right now! Let’s start with some genius
animations created by Carrie and Michael Huang, who have generously given us
permission to use them. The link to their website is in the description below.
We’ll start with the scale of a human being and work our way up, because it
helps to start with something relatable. And the size of your body should be the
most relatable scale – about one to three meters. These would be objects like a
bicycle, or a sunflower bloom. If we go a hundred times bigger, to about a hundred
meters we will be at the scale of a Boeing 747 jet, or the size of an
American football field. Let’s go a thousand times bigger than the scale of
a human – about a thousand meters. Now we’re looking at the tallest building in
the world, the Burj Khalifa – 830 meters. Also, Vatican City is
only about one kilometer in length. Let’s go a thousand times bigger than this – one
million meters. Now we’re on the scale of California and Italy, both of which are
about 1200 km in length. We also begin to approach now
some of the smallest spherical celestial objects – the former smallest planet Pluto
which is about 2,300 kilometers in diameter.
Pluto was reclassified in 2006 to the protest of many people, especially kids,
to be designated a lowly “dwarf planet.” Let’s go a thousand times larger than
this scale, or 1 billion meters. We will now be going way past the size of the
earth, which is only about 12,742 km in diameter.
And we are passing even the size of Jupiter, which is more than ten times larger in
diameter than earth – about a hundred and forty thousand kilometers, or a hundred
and forty million meters. Jupiter is actually only slightly smaller than our
nearest star neighbor – Proxima Centauri, which is only about two hundred fifteen
thousand kilometers in diameter, much smaller than our Sun, which is about 1.4
million kilometers, or 1.4 billion meters. Let’s go a thousand
times larger than the size of the Sun, or one trillion meters. Now we’re looking at
some of the largest and brightest stars that we can see in the Milky Way galaxy –
stars like Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, the ninth brightest star in the sky,
which is 1.2 billion kilometers in diameter. One of the brightest stars in
the sky is also the largest known star in the Milky Way galaxy – V Y Canis
Majoris, at about two billion kilometers in diameter. Let’s go a thousand times
larger than this, or 1 quadrillion meters. We’ll be passing by the Oort cloud which
is thought to be a spherical shell consisting of up to 2 trillion comets
that surrounds the solar system. This is where an occasional gravitational
disturbance can send a comet hurtling towards the Sun, or more ominously
towards the earth. This spherical cloud starts at about 1 trillion kilometres
away from the Sun, and ends about 15 trillion kilometres away from the Sun.
This also forms the outer boundary of our solar system,
where the gravitational influence of the Sun is minimal to non-existent.
Now we’re at the scale of a Lightyear, which is about 9.4 quadrillion
meters, or 9.4 trillion kilometers. Let’s go a thousand times
larger than this or 1 quintillion meters. This is about 100 light-years. Now we can
talk in terms of the scale of our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, our home galaxy.
We’re going to go past the size of some of the most spectacular structures in
the universe – things like the pillars of creation, and the Eagle Nebula, as well as
some of the smaller galaxies that surround our Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy
is about a 106,000 thousand light-years across, or almost exactly one
quintillion kilometers. That’s 10^21 meters, containing anywhere from 250
billion to 400 billion stars. Other than the fact that we live here, there’s
really nothing particularly remarkable about our galaxy. It’s a typical spiral
galaxy. There are billions of such galaxies in the universe.
Our neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy is larger, containing one trillion stars.
When we go a thousand times larger than this, we begin to see the superstructure
of the universe which is made up of super clusters. We live in such a
structure called the Virgo supercluster. It also contains Andromeda and about a
hundred other galaxies. It’s about a hundred and ten million light-years in
diameter, or 10^21, or one sextillion kilometers across. There are
estimated to be about 10 million super clusters in the universe. When we go a
thousand times larger than this, we reach the end of the visible universe, at about
the scale of 10^27 meters. The observable universe has a diameter of
about 93 billion light years, almost exactly 10^27 meters. How is it
that the universe is only 13.8 billion years old, but it’s 93 billion light
years across? Shouldn’t it be 13.8 billion light years
across, if nothing can travel faster than light? That’s a great question because
it’s pretty confusing. First, 13.8 billion light years would be the radius of a
sphere, so the diameter would be twice that, or 27.6 billion light years.
This is basically what we see in the WMAP Our universe’s microwave background
photo. In fact each of the red bumps you see on this photo has evolved into a
super cluster that I talked about earlier. But the reason our universe is
actually 93 billion light years across, and not 13.8 billion light years across
is because the universe has been expanding for the entire 13.8 billion
years. And due to the cosmological redshift, we know that the farther away
an object is the faster it appears to be moving away from us. And we can calculate
that those superclusters of galaxies, based on the expansion of the universe.
would be 46.5 billion light years from us by this time. That’s the
radius, so the diameter of the universe would be twice that or 93 billion light
years across. In fact, if we waited 46.5 billion years we would be
able to see the light emitted right now from those super clusters, because the
light would have started on its journey towards us just
about now. But we will actually never eventually see this light, because in
1998, we discovered something called “dark energy,” and learned that the universe is
not in a steady expansion, but rather an accelerating expansion. So that light
will be receding from us at greater than the speed of light. But isn’t the speed
of light the cosmic speed limit? Yes, for things traveling within space. But
there’s no limit on the expansion of space itself. The space between galaxies
is expanding faster than light. The galaxies are not travelling within space
faster than light. But could it be though that what we can actually see is just a
minuscule portion of a universe that’s actually infinite? Is there any way to
determine whether the universe could be Infinite? Well, the Cosmic Microwave
Background gives us a clue. It’s the leftover glow from the Big Bang. Although
it looks fairly uniform, there is a lot of information there. One of the things
that this microwave background tells us is that the universe appears to be flat.
How do we know this? Scientists look for what we would see if the universe was a
certain shape. They look for the curvature of space. If space was not flat,
but positively curved, like a four-dimensional sphere, then we would
expect to see multiple images of the same object in the sky, because distant
light rays would converge. This is like ants on a balloon
trying to measure the flatness of their 2d universe by adding up the angles in a
triangle, to make sure that they add up to 180 degrees. In a positively curved
universe, the angles would add up to greater than 180 degrees. Likewise,
distant light rays would diverge if we live in a negatively curved space shaped
like a saddle, and the angles would add up to less than 180 degrees. Data from
the WMAP as well as Planck spacecraft however, indicates that the universe is
flat, or nearly flat, with an error of about 0.4%. A flat universe would be an
infinite universe. But if the error is taken into account, then it is possible
that the universe could have a slightly positive curvature. In that case, it would
be finite, but would have to be a radius at least
250 times larger than the part that we can see. This would be a minimum size of
about 11.6 trillion light years in radius, or about 23 trillion
light years in diameter, instead of the 93 billion that we can see. This is huge,
but would be much much smaller than infinity. Infinity is a very large number.
Imagine a really large number, like a googol – the real googol, spelled
differently than what you’re used to seeing. This is 10^100 light years.
That’s 1 followed by 100 zeros. Or a googolplex, which is 10 ^10^100 power, that’s 10 to the Google power, an extremely large number, much larger
than even the Planck volume that would fit inside the observable universe, which
would be about 4.7 x 10^185 Planck volumes but infinity would be much much larger than either of those
numbers. It goes on forever after all. Imagine the earth being a perfect sphere,
and an ant trying to figure out its curvature by drawing large triangles, and
seeing if the angles add up to 180 degrees. It may conclude that the earth is flat.
So our universe appears to be consistent with a flat universe, although we can’t
rule out a curved universe. So our best guess is, right now, that the universe is
infinite. But infinities in science tend to be due to errors, so we should be
skeptical about this result. What we do know for sure is that the universe is
much larger than the part that we can observe. The problem is we only have
access to the information contained in our tiny 93 billion light year bubble,
that we call the observable universe. We can only infer from what we can see. This
is like a sailor on a boat, in the open sea, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
at night, trying to figure out where the ocean ends, with nothing but the Stars to
guide him. Guys, I talked about some of the largest numbers, but my friend Chris
over at Beautiful Science has a great video on some of the smallest numbers and
scales, numbers that I think you’re going to find very interesting.
So click the link in the description to see his video. And if you liked this
video then please give us a thumbs up, and share with your friends. Be sure to
check out some of our other popular videos. I’ll see you in the next video my

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100 Replies to “Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales”

  1. Hey Arvin, amazing video, all the feels! Thanks for the 2 part collaboration, was a pleasure working with you. Looking forward to seeing what you have lined up next :).

  2. Can some one help me out here: So, the space between galaxies is expanding ever faster. But 'space isn't confined to just 'outer space'. The space goes right down into the subatomic structure of matter. So what is stopping the space between atoms from expanding? and if space between subatomic particles isn't expanding then at what point does space begin to expand? Just curious. Fascinating stuff though!

  3. From the perspective of logic, it doesn't make that much sense to assume something to be infinite in nature. It's more of a cop-out solution to what may be just mind-boggling sizes we can't really comprehend or rather can't see the true edges from. The issue is we can't extrapolate beyond the visible universe, at least not by much. And we don't really know where physical observation becomes visual and optical illusion. When it comes to light speed as a maximum speed, I wouldn't say we are completely separated from what could be more of an optical illusion, than a physical effect. It also seems you need an observation of light to determine faster than light speed, which is a bit of a paradox in and of itself isn't it? This means, it might be physically possible, but a bit difficult to see for a static observer. I think we will eventually discover that the speed of light is a bit similar to how the 'sound barrier' works. If I recall correctly people used to think of the sound barrier as a physical limit as well. And now we get the weird visual effect of jets flying much faster and the sound barrier explosion and sound lagging behind. There's no reason why the perceived visual of a space craft flying above light speed couldn't cause a similar disconnected effect, but then a visual one instead of sound related. Yes, I'm aware of the whole mass and energy 'problem', but light speed isn't an 'infinite' speed. I think it's weird speeds 'close to light speed' are assumed still possible, when really that does not change that much about the mass / energy problem in space craft at all. Obviously a jet going several times the speed of sound pulls massive G forces. Something similar might be a more problematic issue when it comes to the speed of light. Not to mention a potential inability to avoid objects. But light speed as a truly 'hard limit' conceptually never made much sense to me. Also, I'm 100% certain the universe is not 'flat'. Stretch any random surface across an insanely vast distance and you will have nothing left but a 'flat stretched' surface. You can measure angles onto that as much as you want, but I doubt you could get anything else but what appears to be perfect angles on a 'flat' surface. It would actually be very much like a sailor on the open sea, seeing nothing but a 'flat' sea. When really… it's not flat. Keep in mind that it is not the ocean itself that revealed the three dimensionality, but rather the stars in the night sky and their changes over time so to speak.
    I also don't think a 'flat universe' accounts for what is really a three dimensional space. Concentrations of stars exist in all directions and we are less so the 'centre of the universe' than some might assume for the sake of simplicity. Even assuming space is 'infinite' in terms of distance, then the whole 'flat universe' talk seems to suggest the depth and height are somehow finite or irrelevant, which sounds just silly to me. Better yet, what if the universe isn't limited to three dimensional space, but has higher dimensions of space?? I think most of our assumptions about the size and structure of the universe is based on how our measurements are confined to data from essentially one spot in the universe, instead of multiple spots with a more local sense of what's going on, using more real data, interpolating between what is known. I believe our universe is multidimensional in nature (at least three dimensional, but possibly way more). I don't think 'time' as a dimension should be ignored. And I don't think we have a correct view of how time correlates to a location or speed in space. I think we have trouble differentiating between how distances travelled requires a certain time to pass locally depending on speed, time that still would be the exact same for the observer. The only thing that changes radically is the visual view of whatever is flying away from the observer. I'm not entirely convinced people in outer space, close to a black hole or whatever other special circumstance would age slower, whilst simultaneously a lot more time having passed on earth. Maybe I'm missing something here, but to me this makes very little to no sense. It might be that time itself is not a constant, but so far we basically understand nothing about that. I'm talking about before the big bang and the assumption of how there might have been a moment in time where there was no such thing as time conceptually. However, if we project such a view onto how our universe seems to work, that actually doesn't make much sense. Objects in space that travel any kind of distance, already require 'time to pass'. Something building up towards an explosion that was the big bang, would require 'time to pass' as well. I think too many scientists are stuck in what I'd describe as a 'casual observer' effect. There are a few assumptions about space and the universe, but also the laws of physics as we now understand on top of which scientists seem to base their newer theories and their implications, which seem to be circular reasoning at worst. By the way, when it comes to the Fermi paradox and rare earth hypothesis, we might see more instances of life far beyond our visible universe. It's too early to really call, but in my opinion it is fairly likely that 'we' are the only life within our visible universe. Which doesn't rule out the real possibility of other universes in an equally large 'bubble of their own visible universe' having a 100% chance of life having occurred at least once. At that point the question becomes how likely is it really to assume any kind of technologically 'almost gods of the universes'-like civilisations would be capable of exploring any other 'universe bubbles in terms of their visibility' with little to no effort? The more astronomically unlikely all of that becomes, the more irrelevant the existence of life elsewhere truly is. Of course, assuming we could only ever have crossed oceans by swimming, would have been an extremely narrow minded view of what could be possible. Maybe space exploration in terms of travelling to other universes is a bit like that. Maybe one day we will find out whatever enables fast travel through not just space, but clusters of universes.

  4. But how do we KNOW that the universe is 98 bn light-years across? How do we know that anything is more than 13 bn light-years away?

  5. I believe one of the best ways to tell that the Universe had a beginning and is not infinite is to understand that infinity would make reffering to any point in the past impossible. The reason for this is that infinite means there is no "edge" and so no reference point to which you could determine any point on a timeline. In other words – if there is no end, there could have been no beginning from which you could make any "time stamps" going forward. Great video by the way! The scale of our Universe is beyond what we can comprehend!

  6. This doesn’t really go deep into it. On the “What The Math” channel it’s explained a new study suggests the universe is curved:
    But my question is how can a vast open black space have any “shape”? You can go in any direction and it’s infinite.
    So how is it that we are floating around in this vast open space with all these other planets? And how, why?
    And don’t come at me with one of nearly 5000 “gods” dreamed up by humans.

  7. So u get ti the "end" . What is behind that end? Never forget when my father ask me that for the first time. I was maybe 9 or 10.

  8. Interesting vid, Anton Petrov talked about this recently as well, so watching this helped to clarify what Anton was talking about on the is the universe infinte subject and studies. Happy to sub!

  9. But didnt 5 days ago come out new data (paper of the data from Planck) suggesting the universe might actually be closed and not flat with a 99% certainty?

  10. but if the universe is flat,how can there be 3dimensions? Also,if its flat,why not go "up/down" or whatever direction in which the universe has the smallest size/dimension

  11. Head collapsed when he got to the universe size and the universe is flat………… all done………….back to cat videos.

  12. When I here someone say, Pluto. First thing that pops in my head is, everyone loves to cheer for the underdog lol. Am I alone in thinking this way? Lol.

  13. Universe is infinite. Simple logic. If finite, there will be boundary. Where do you peg the boundary in the universe? Radius/dia related to what? Originating from the center of what we observe, video(10.10…)? Further, if the universe is finite; it is closed; and you (the observer) can infer only from the outside of it.

  14. a "flat" universe is not synonymous with an infinite universe, cuz there is no such thing as an infinite amount of anything, including the universe itself.
    and we are never gonna be able to find this out, cuz the observable universe is only a smidgeon of the the total universe. and it is expanding at faster than the speed of light. we only have access to such a small part of the "circumference", that anything will still look flat to us. sorta like looking down the street, and thinking the earth is flat, because the street is flat

  15. The real answer is no. If there is an edge to the visible universe and no one can see anything further then there is no way to know. It's like standing at the end of a long hallway and there's a closed door at the other end. There's no way to know what's behind it. Also, if the big bang sent material in all directions that has been expanding for 13 billion years then the universe would be a sphere.

  16. My favorite channel on Youtube.

    I am a die-hard multiverse fan. I think what universes are born inside is infinite (possibly dark matter/energy). I don't see that a universe, itself, would be infinite. Just my take.

  17. NASA stupefied everyone with CGI. NASA they are liars they faked the moon landing and are lying to us each and every step. Space will be faked as long as space is seen as real but reality is only real if we do not allow it to be faked. Hubble telescope don't exist in space because space is fake, there are no single satellite in space.
    Solar system is a Big fat lie.

  18. The universe has to be infinite because even if there is "nothing" beyond its edges, nothing is something…and oh by the way nothing finite could create anything infinite…

  19. No the universe is not infinite. That would mean somewhere there’s another earth with another me tying this same comment on this same video and another you reading it.

  20. Describing VY Canis Majoris as "one of the brightest stars in the sky" will be misleading for most people. It is one of the brightest by absolute magnitude, meaning how much total light it puts out, but it is far enough away that it is not even visible to the naked eye, as seen from earth.

  21. well I watched the whole thing but still can't imagine infinity because that is impossible and also infinity is not a number.

  22. If the concept of infinity only exists in our mathematics, like imaginary numbers, and not in reality, then is the Einstein equation (The mass increases with velocity until the mass becomes infinite when it reaches light speed) wrong or lacking information?
    And if we achieve light speed, will interstellar dust destroy our vessels?

  23. So, if it’s infinite, wouldn’t size, large or small, also be infinite? And wouldn’t that make time, irrelevant? A second or a billion years, in an infinite universe, wouldn’t really exist?

  24. Thanks for this video, it explained a lot questions I wondered about for a long time but was not able to find an answer until now.

  25. here is what i believe to be true: the universe cannot be infinite, otherwise the total mass of the universe would exert such a powerful gravitational attraction, that everything would collapse at the speed of light. so its finite in terms of total mass and energy, but has no boundaries in 3 dimensions. there is no "edge". its as if the entire universe was the rubber of an inflated balloon, with the space inside and outside the balloon simply not in existence. if we are expanding, the inside of the baloon is the past, the outside is the future.

  26. How can you tell the shape of something that is infinite?
    How can you tell something is expanding when it is already infinite?
    As entertaining as this video is, I'm gonna have to say it is BS.

  27. Things can’t expand into nothing so what is the universe expanding into? And what is on the outside of that? All of this stuff makes no sense to me lmao

  28. I may clearify the quastion: the universe is much bigger than our scale of observation. So even if its not infinit, we still couldn't prove it because for our point of view it seams to be infinit.
    And I had just spend 13 minutes to realize that, because are limitation we'll never know the answare.

  29. I still dont understand intuitively how the universe is flat, Im not flat, there is up and down, I go travel from north pole for 9 trillion miles "north into space"… how is the universe flat?!?!?!

  30. How can the universe be flat or curved if it goes in all directions in three dimensional space? If it’s spherical couldn’t there be something outside of the sphere, or if it’s flat couldn’t there be something above or below it? What am I missing here?

  31. Accepting the positive curvature of the universe would eliminate the need for the "crutch" concepts of dark matter and dark energy. Einsteinian idealism will have to be proven insufficient. Time has to be found isotropic in a sense, but to understand how – the application of Finsler geometry w/ Berwald-Moor metrics has to be further researched. Other than that – speaking about the size in the context of relativity, doesn't make much sense. Quazars, for example – modern "business" science get lost here the moment they start discussing them

  32. I've commented this before on various videos like.this.Somebody perhaps can tell me if I'm wrong, but my belief is that the universe cannot be infinite because in order to be infinite,this means every possibility must exist.And if this is true and every possibility exists,that means there must be a place in the universe where infinite does not exist,meaning things are finite.However,if things are finite in this part of the universe and it is still connected to the rest of a universe that is infinite,it is therefore no longer finite. Hence,finite and infinite cannot coexist,and infinite cannot exist without Including the finite ,which would ultimately turn that finite infinite.

  33. Stop teaching bullshit science. The universe is electromagnetic not gravity driven. Black holes, dark energy, dark matter are bullshit terms to replace huge errors in the current theory. Also, yes the universe IS infinite. No big bang, no "creator".

  34. Aren't there more important things happening on earth that need addressing? Why worry about places that are so distant, its meaningless to 99.9% of mankind.

  35. The best way to explain this is that space is appearing out of nowhere at a speed that makes light speed look like a tortoise. The universe had a head start and was already prepared with 50 billion light years of space before light was created.

  36. Use the "0.04%" and instead of assuming that you have to measure the positive curve giving the answer, calculate the negitive curve the same way as the positive curve make the negative fold back into a positive sphere.
    That sphere should be much bigger.
    Observer effect + human error, habit and a lack of outside the box thinking are more reasons that the universe is apparently not infinite.

  37. Do most physicists agree that all matter collapsed down into itself into a relatively small singularity point of mass before exploding in all directions in the Big Bang and that all of that material is still expanding in all directions spherically into otherwise empty space and doing so at a rate faster than the speed of light?

  38. the universe is 93 billion years old..but we don't know how big it the univers is infinate but has a

  39. crazy part is the secrets of the universe will be found with the smallest not the biggest..quantum mechanics has already proven that..

  40. Thank goodness! Someone finally has an intelligent thought. A great way to test on the mathematics of the universe is to mentally imagine a sine wave. Try to imagine where the curve begins and ends. That should pretty much sum up the argument of a finite universe.

    Also, not only is QM a silly and pointless addition to special relatively, so too is this silly dark energy thing. If we think of the universe as infinite, then yes, it did NOT come from a single point at the big bang, but must have come from a volume. And it wouldn't have had to have been infinitely dense either, just a giant bounce. And from that, we can derive "dark energy" as just "other places" pulling matter into their local collapse (and away from our visible region). Then those locations bounce and the matter comes back in to a collapse and continues forever. If one were to ride the crests around the universe, one could exist forever (assuming they've uploaded their consciousness to a computer and other such silliness.) Oh and this idea of space as a tangible thing, same as QM. Made up to keep the nerds happy.

  41. i think we are in a time looped, saddle shaped, closed sphere, multi-googol verse with divergent expansion into the sausage-sphere.

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