Do We Live in a Special Part of the Universe?

Posted by on October 12, 2017 in Earth & Space, Sci-Tech with 3 Comments
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Video Source: Fraser Cain

By Fraser Cain | phys.org

We’ve already talked about how you’re living at the center of the universe. Now, I’m not going to say that the whole universe revolves around you… but we both know it does. So does this mean that there’s something special about where we live?


This is a reasonable line of thinking, and it was how modern science got its start. The first astronomers assumed that the sun, moon, planets and stars orbited around the Earth. That the Earth was a very special and unique place, distinct from the rest of the universe.

But as astronomers started puzzling out the nature of the laws of physics, they realized that the Earth wasn’t as special as they thought. In fact, the laws of nature that govern the forces on Earth are the same everywhere in the universe. As Isaac Newton untangled the laws of gravity here on Earth, he realized it must be the same forces that caused the moonto go around the Earth, and the planets to go around the sun.

That the light from the sun is the same phenomenon as the light from other stars.

When astronomers consider the universe at the largest scales, they assume that it’s homogeneous, and isotropic. Technical words, I know, so here’s what they mean.

When astronomers say the universe is homogeneous, this means that observers in any part of the universe will see roughly the same view as observers in any other part. There might be local differences, like our mostly harmless planet Earth, orbiting the future course of an interstellar bypass. Or a desert planet with two suns, or a swampy world in the Dagobah system.

At the smallest scales, they’ll be different. But as you move to larger and larger scales, it’s all just planets, stars, galaxies, galaxy clusters and black holes. And if you unfocus your eyes, it all looks pretty much the same.

Isotropic means that the universe looks the same in every direction. If you were floating alone in the cosmic void, you could look left, right, up, down out to the edge of the observable universe and see galaxies, galaxy clusters and eventually the cosmic microwave background radiation in all directions. Every direction looks the same.

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3 Reader Comments

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  1. 587818431392465@facebook.com' Meskelo Infinity says:

    i wanna say YOLO but this particular info makes me sad!?!

  2. 246631042353276@facebook.com' Ann Garside says:

    We are living in a special time
    It’s all we have It may be screwed but we have learned to make the best of it I am so glad I was born in the 1950 s and won’t be around in another 39 years There’s been a great many changes but the world is becoming a hard place to live in
    Society I fear for the young ones as humanity has lost direction ???

  3. 10207523876187916@facebook.com' Ken Jones says:

    It is to me

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