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Where does space end?

Posted on 2004-11-29
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If you could some how travel through space to the with no limits, where would it end?
If it does end, what's on the ohter side?
If it does not end, why?

No correct answer, just currious. I ponder this thought sometimes!

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Question by:mrwebdev

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First Sentence correction:
*If you could some how travel through space with no limits, where would it end?
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space ends about 1/8" left of the alt.  Navigable space is more like 1/4".  These distances may change if you have one of those funky ergonomic keyboards.
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First we must know where it begins...
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Philosophically,
When you think of the universe, you usually would think of the material and physical matter that makes up the universe. This is all contained within the empty space. If you think the physical universe is infinite, then empty space must be infinite. But if you think the universe is limited, empty space is still infinite as there can be nothing outside of the universe.

Religiously,
Emptiness is Form, and Form is Emptiness...

If this is a riddle,
Space ends when it reaches the letter E.
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I think of the universe as a sphere that's been expanding at the speed of light since the big bang.
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> expanding at the speed of light
Hubble's constant would suggest that expansion rate is proportional to distance.
What distance do you choose when you think of your sphere?
As for whether space ends, see
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/universe_overview_010605-2.html
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I sometimes wonder as well -- If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?  Probably just limited 3-dimensional thinking on my part...
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Accepted Solution

A more important question is: whose space.

Space for different beings and non-beings is different. For us human beings space means the skies beyond the atomosphere of the earth, where our own space begin forming a small part of our solar system, galaxy etc etc.

But is that the only space?

I sometimes think of space as a "living space" of being (and non beings). Space is holds the Universe? Or the Universe contains the space? I haven't seen it with my naked eyes so not very sure. But certainly, space isn't the same for all (on the earth, inside/outside it).

When we think of space or any such thing, we forget the concept of relativity. IMHO, "Space is a relative concept". We think space doesn't end because we have explored so much that we know believe it doesn't ever end (its expanding). Ask the same question to any of us's ancestors, going back 500 years. The answer would be -- there where stars are. This very human kind believed seas end. Sailors were afraid, if they traveled too far in the sea, they will sink into an unknown place, porbably the earth ends there.

What we think of Space/Universe is totally dependent on our senses and our brain. Our senses govern our ability to feel something and brain allows to understand the same. With the help of artificial senses (hubbles/rovers/explorers and what not else) have all allowed us to see and know things well beyond our senses on their own could. Our geniuses mathmeticians/astrologists allowed us to know things we otherwise couldn't.

Otherwise, the space ends where our senses stop to think beyond.
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Space ends when the next object is encountered.     ..... or you move to an occupied mind.
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define "to end".
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the genrally accepted model of the universe holds that what we percieve as 'space' is more closely akin to the three-dimensional 'surface' of a 4-dimensional balloon (the fourth dimension is time), and that balloon is expanding in the time dimension (and thus getting bigger in the other three dimensions as well).

Using that analogy, think of yourself as living ON the 2-dimension surface of real 3-dimensional ballon that is expanding.  as you crawl around on the surface of that balloon, where does 'space' end?  It doesn't, as the surface simply wraps around the ballon, without a location that could be identified ans the 'beginning' or the 'end'.

In fact this analogy is not so far fetched.  One of the early explanations of the Hubble Law (the speed with which galaxies appear to be rushing away from us is proportional to the distance from us to each galaxy), was to think of the usinverse like a loaf of raisin bread as it bakes in the oven.  We are sitting on one raisin, and measure the distance from our raisin to other raisins (galaxies) in the loaf as it rises.  As the loaf rises, the raisins get farther apart, and the rate of increase of the distance between ANY TWO RAISINS, is proportional to the distance beetween the raisins - precisely what the Hubble Law states.  There is no 'center' from which all the raisins are rushing away - they are each rushing away from every other raisin in the loaf, in precisly the same manner, regardless of which raisin in the loaf you happen to be 'riding' on.  All you can conclude is that the loaf, as a whole, is getting bigger, but you cannot determine where the 'center' of the loaf is, or where it started from, in order to get to the size that it has now.

AW

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Isn't there a restaurant at the end of the universe...?
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Great responses, but in the end I still wonder how far it goes,
and where does it end, and what's the end point!

It does cause quite a headache when you try to figure it out!
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You can't really define an end to the universe because whatever defines its end also defines the beginning of something else. For instance, people have used loaves of bread or balloons to explain the universe. The balloon ends where the latext stops, but there is still air and an entire world outside that balloon. Same with a loaf of bread. It is confined by its crust, but there is still air and a world outside the crust. So I say that there is no end to universe. The universe goes on...and on... and on... and on.
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kind of like some questions on EE...
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>  First Sentence correction:
>  *If you could some how travel through space with no limits, where would it end?

If space has no limits - as is specified in the question - then there will be no end!  Or it would end when you finally gave up ;-)
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First of all, space is empty. A void, a vacuum, nothingness.
The universe or other universes and matter exist in a vacuum.
If you reach the end of physical matter, what is left?
If there isn't anything else, there can only be nothing.
If there is a lack of complete nothingness, then you have not reached the end of everything yet.

Conclusion: The physical universe may or may not have a limit. But SPACE is unlimited.
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Probably not what you are looking for but 'space' ends where matter begins...

I think you might be considering the universe rather than space.
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The concept of relativity suggests that you can never reach the end of the universe.

For example a metre ruler here on earth would be 'stretched' as you near the 'middle' of the universe and 'shrink' as you approach the outer limits. If you could somehow bring the two together outside of the concept of relativity after they have been effected by it they would be different sizes but still one meter.

A physics teacher of mine explained it like this. A frog jumps halfway to the edge of the universe; he jumps again but this time half the distance he jumped last time. He will always continue to do this and thus never reach his goal as each time he can only jump half the distance he did on the previous attempt.

If you took a space ship and started to fly to the edge of the universe you would shrink and keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller. Your ship would too shrink and its thrusters output would diminish - but only relative to when you started. If you turned around and came back you would again be the same size as when you left.
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A freind of mine kindly pointed out to me the other day that the word universe means everything, so there is nothing beyond the universe as that too would be included in the universe.
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Thats true! but I didn't say Universe...

:)

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>>If you could some how travel through space to the with no limits, where would it end?
It ends nowhere.  You'd eventually end up right where you started.  Think of space like an oval race track.

>>A freind of mine kindly pointed out to me the other day that the word universe means everything, so there is nothing beyond the universe as that too would be included in the universe.

The word universe either means "the realm in which something exists or takes place" or it means "all matter and energy in intergalactic space".   Neither of these words means 'everything'.
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Seeing as "space" was undefined...

The metaphoric "space" between my ears is unbounded!
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From WordNet Dictionary

Meaning of UNIVERSE

1. [n]  everything stated or assumed in a given discussion
2. [n]  (statistics) the entire aggregation of items from which samples can be drawn; "it is an estimate of the mean of the population"
3. [n]  the whole collection of existing things
4. [n]  everything that exists anywhere; "they study the evolution of the universe"; "the biggest tree in existence"

From Oxford (Advanced Learner's) Dictionary, 1989

universe
1. the universe [sing] all existing things, including the earth and its creatures and all the stars, planets, etc in space
2. [C] system of galaxies: [i]Are there other universes outside our own?[/i]

So by these definitions 3. & 4. from WordNet and 1. from Oxford A.L. it does mean 'everything'! I guess it depends on what your source is depends on your definition.
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mrwebdev - It's always a pleasure for me to discuss these things with people who think about them.

If it's still space we are talking about then I'll stick with that it ends when matter begins.
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You should read "The New World of Mr Tompkins" by George Gamow.
His explanation of the shape of the universe is straightforward and bright.
He imagines a universe that would have a 10 meters diameter and what would happen is you travel round it.

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How much "space" is there in an atom too?!
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Relativity! Relativity!! Relativity!!!
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I think if you delete all of the old porn, you can free up some space.
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Dan :D

You are super as usual :>
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Where does space end?

Somewhere near the end of this thread.....................
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Or the universe could be a bubble expanding into a region of decaying false vaccum
http://home.flash.net/~csmith0/bubbles.htm
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