One thought that keeps me awake is, what is my place in this Universe? Yes, I know I’m weird. But it is very important to know your place isn’t it? Sometime in the past I noted a question on the Question and Answer platform called Quora. Because I am a fluent Dutch speaker (obviously) it was on the Dutch variant. There is an English/American variation, as well as a German. But I digress, this question was “Where is the centre of the Universe”? At first you might think the person asking needs to see a psychiatrist quickly. That’s what I thought as well, but at second glance it is not as silly as you think. We know from observations more or less our place in the Galaxy or if you will, the Milky Way. We know again from observations that we are part of a cluster of galaxies and I suppose using triangulation methods we could figure out the centre of that. But that is still no way near the centre of the Universe. In one way Universe is a strange word. As we look around us during the night time we can see a multitude of stars, as far as the eye can see. With telescopes we can see much more and further away. But there is an edge to how much we can see. That is now called the ‘observable universe’. And the centre of the observable universe is, wait for it – YOU, if you are making the observations. But let’s arguably say that the centre is the planet, Earth. The truth is that we will never know the centre of the universe because we do not know what is outside the observable universe. For all we know there could be not much more or a heck of a lot more. There are even theories of multiple universes, something like a multitude of balloons floating together in an endless void.
Then there are observations that say the universe is expanding. So taking the ‘balloon’ hypothesis to hand you could think that galaxies at the edge of your observable universe moving along with that expansion would eventually disappear from sight. In the meantime they would show a ‘red-shift’. Also another thought I had was that as everything is moving at speed in our universe, including us we would be moving away from certain visible galaxies. Those would be directly opposite our cone of view from Earth. We would be moving toward others. It depends where we are moving to. We are part of a much greater whole and that is moving too! But the centre of the universe will be forever an unknown.
In the meantime have a great Christmas and a very happy Covid-free New Year.
Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda - Prettige Feestdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!