Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 128

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 134

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 141

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 169

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 199

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 205

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 233

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 248

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 254

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 267

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php on line 595

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/files/model/_file.funcs.php on line 559

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_connect_db.inc.php on line 29

Strict Standards: Declaration of UserSettings::get() should be compatible with AbstractSettings::get($col_key1, $col_key2 = NULL, $col_key3 = NULL) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/users/model/_usersettings.class.php on line 208

Strict Standards: Declaration of UserSettings::set() should be compatible with AbstractSettings::set() in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/users/model/_usersettings.class.php on line 208

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/_param.funcs.php on line 1692

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php:128) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/sessions/model/_session.class.php on line 222

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/generic/model/_genericelement.class.php on line 109

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/model/dataobjects/_dataobject.class.php on line 428

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/model/dataobjects/_dataobject.class.php on line 437

Strict Standards: Declaration of Blog::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/collections/model/_blog.class.php on line 1932

Strict Standards: Declaration of Group::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/users/model/_group.class.php on line 553

Strict Standards: Declaration of User::dbdelete() should be compatible with DataObject::dbdelete() in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/users/model/_user.class.php on line 1343

Strict Standards: Declaration of User::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/users/model/_user.class.php on line 1343

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/files/model/_file.class.php on line 1782

Strict Standards: Declaration of Filetype::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/files/model/_filetype.class.php on line 192

Strict Standards: Declaration of Comment::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/comments/model/_comment.class.php on line 1334

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_blog_main.inc.php on line 450

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_itemlist.class.php on line 483

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_itemlistlight.class.php on line 119

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_itemlistlight.class.php on line 838

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_item.class.php on line 1426

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_item.class.php on line 1429

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_item.class.php on line 3032

Strict Standards: Declaration of ItemListLight::query() should be compatible with Results::query($create_default_cols_if_needed = true, $append_limit = true, $append_order_by = true, $query_title = 'Results::Q...') in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/items/model/_itemlistlight.class.php on line 48

Strict Standards: Declaration of GenericCategoryCache::clear() should be compatible with DataObjectCache::clear($keep_shadow = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/generic/model/_genericcategorycache.class.php on line 429

Strict Standards: Declaration of GenericCategory::set() should be compatible with DataObject::set($parname, $parvalue, $make_null = false) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/generic/model/_genericcategory.class.php on line 133

Strict Standards: Declaration of CollectionSettings::_load() should be compatible with AbstractSettings::_load($arg1 = NULL, $arg2 = NULL, $arg3 = NULL) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/collections/model/_collsettings.class.php on line 132

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/_param.funcs.php on line 1161

Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/_param.funcs.php on line 1161

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 223

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_main.inc.php:128) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/skins/_skin.funcs.php on line 379
How big is the universe?
Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304
The Pauper's Theater
  
Ask Dr. Volt!
 
Befuddled by physics?  Stymied by science?  Then ask Dr. Volt!
 
Dr. Volt, certified Mad Scientist, will take your questions, scrutinize them over a Bunsen burner, and post the answers here!  You can also search the archives for answers to past questions.
 



Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334
How big is the universe?


Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304

Strict Standards: Declaration of smilies_plugin::GetDefaultSettings() should be compatible with Plugin::GetDefaultSettings(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/_smilies.plugin.php on line 398

Strict Standards: Declaration of smilies_plugin::GetDefaultUserSettings() should be compatible with Plugin::GetDefaultUserSettings(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/_smilies.plugin.php on line 398

Strict Standards: Declaration of auto_p_plugin::GetDefaultSettings() should be compatible with Plugin::GetDefaultSettings(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/_auto_p.plugin.php on line 633

Jessica E. asks, "Dr. Volt, how big is the universe?"

Ah, Jessica, this is a far more intriguing question than it at first appears! You see, to this day scientists are still not certain if the universe has a finite size or if it is infinite! At the very least we know it is billions of light years wide (a light year being how far light travels in a year, and given that light moves at around 300,000,000 meters per second that's pretty far itself!). But it is indeed possible that the universe is of infinite size. We may never really know, for in order to even see objects at the edges of the known universe the light must have had time to travel and reach Earth. It is possible, and indeed likely, that there are parts of the universe from which light has yet to reach us.

But let us for a moment assume that the universe is of a finite (albeit very, very large) size. Does this mean the universe has an edge? And end beyond which we can go no further? Not necessarily. Picture a ball. The two-dimensional surface of the ball is of a finite size that we can measure, but that surface doesn't have an edge. If you start and one point and move around the ball you will come back to the point at which you started. The thought is that the universe, if finite, is like a three-dimensional version of that ball: travel far enough and you will eventually come back to the same point as the universe loops back in on itself. It is, to be sure, a strange idea, but since we know that gravity, for example, can warp space-time (thank you, Einstein), the idea is not so far-fetched.

Deep field image from the Hubble, courtesy of NASA

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334
--->
Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/skins/_item_feedback.inc.php on line 156

Feedback awaiting moderation

This post has 11 feedbacks awaiting moderation...


Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/skins/_item_comment_form.inc.php on line 67

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/skins/_item_comment_form.inc.php on line 84

Leave a comment


Your email address will not be revealed on this site.

Your URL will be displayed.

Strict Standards: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/plugins/model/_plugins.class.php on line 677

Strict Standards: Declaration of PluginSettings::get() should be compatible with AbstractSettings::get($col_key1, $col_key2 = NULL, $col_key3 = NULL) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/plugins/model/_pluginsettings.class.php on line 95

Strict Standards: Declaration of PluginSettings::set() should be compatible with AbstractSettings::set() in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/plugins/model/_pluginsettings.class.php on line 95

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 334
(Line breaks become <br />)
(Name, email & website)
(Allow users to contact you through a message form (your email will not be revealed.)

Strict Standards: Declaration of captcha_img_plugin::GetDefaultSettings() should be compatible with Plugin::GetDefaultSettings(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/captcha_img_plugin/_captcha_img.plugin.php on line 1323

Strict Standards: Declaration of captcha_img_plugin::AfterCommentFormInsert() should be compatible with Plugin::AfterCommentFormInsert(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/captcha_img_plugin/_captcha_img.plugin.php on line 1323

Strict Standards: Declaration of captcha_img_plugin::CaptchaValidatedCleanup() should be compatible with Plugin::CaptchaValidatedCleanup(&$params) in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/plugins/captcha_img_plugin/_captcha_img.plugin.php on line 1323

Strict Standards: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/plugins/model/_plugins.class.php on line 677

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 236
This is a captcha-picture. It is used to prevent mass-access by robots.

Please enter the characters from the image above. (case insensitive)


Notice: Array to string conversion in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/_core/ui/forms/_form.class.php on line 425
Array

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304

Deprecated: Non-static method Hitlist::dbprune() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/sessions/model/_hit.class.php on line 531

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/playwrig/www/paupers/drvolt/inc/settings/model/_abstractsettings.class.php on line 304