What is at the end of the Universe?
My question is "what is at the end of the universe if it really does end?" because if the big bang theory is correct then then when the whole universe was one atom or very small what did it expand into because if there was nothing there it couldnt have expanded. for example if you have a room and you say that the walls are the end of the universe then you build on to the room to make it bigger (the universe expanding) there has to be room on the other side of the wall for you to build into.
There is nothing called the end of the Universe. There are three possibilities of the shape of the Universe.
First, the Universe might have what we call positive curvature like a sphere. In this case, the Universe is called "closed" and it has a finite size but without a boundary, just like a baloon. In a closed Universe, you could, in principle, fly a spaceship far enough in one direction and get back to where you started from.
The second possibility is that the Universe is flat. This kind of Universe can be imagined by cutting out a piece of a baloon material and stretching it with your hands. The surface of the material is flat and not curved. You can expand and contract it by tugging on either end. Flat Universes are infinite in extent and have no boundaries.
Finally, the Universe might be "open" or have negative curvature. Such Universes are also infinite in spatial extent and have no boundaries.
Thus whatever be the shape of the Universe, there is nothing called a boundary and hence nothing called the edge or end of the Universe.
Regarding the second question of expansion, remember that space exists only IN the Universe and there is no meaning to the term "outside the Universe". What happens in expansion is that the space itself is expanding. With respect to your room analogy, it is not that the walls of your room are pushing against something but that the space in the room is expanding; there is nothing to push against. Thus, when we talk of galaxies receding from us due to the expanion, it is not that the galaxies are moving, but the space in between us and the galaxies is expanding.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Why is it difficult to understand the expansion of the universe?
- What was there before the Big Bang and what is there outside of our universe?
- What is the universe expanding into?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 145105 times since August 23, 2002.
Last modified: September 22, 2002 2:20:56 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)