American astronomers Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess, and Australian astronomer Brian Schmidt have been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for their discoveries and initial theorization as to the rapidly expanding universe.
Scientists point out that with the galaxies, and to a lesser extent, the stars, solar systems, dense star clusters and dark black holes all spreading, the space between entities growing farther, over time the universe will be a far ranging and nearly empty region. What had been our near neighbor, the galaxy Andromeda, will eventually be so distant as to be invisible even to the strongest telescopes. The universe will be a cold and lonely place. That example is quite imperfect, because as time goes by the stars burn out, and even the galaxies undergo change, and die, with new galaxies forming to replace them. Everthing fades over time, and existence goes on.
Most scientists agree that the big bang was the beginning of everything; that the universe is limited. Einstein saw the universe as an expanding sphere, or similiar shape. There are a few scientists who are again leaning to the earlier concept that space is infinite and an absolute. If we journey, they claim, to the farthest reaches of Einstein’s spheroid, to the farthest reaches our imaginations can grasp, we have only stepped just beyond the start.
Space, the capacity for measurement and occupation, is an absolute, going beyond speculation to infinity. Time too may be infinite and absolute, having had no beginning, with no potential for an end. Time is a basic characteristic of existence, and knows no turning. These same modern scientists concede that the touted “big bang” may have been one of a series of big bangs, throbbing forever. And they concede that in infinite space and time there may be, may have been, and doubtless will be, an infinite number of universes; some occupied as ours is, some empty.