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Author Topic: Does the universe spin?  (Read 4466 times)
Ivan
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« on: June 06, 2011, 11:59:25 PM »

More ramblings:

If the universe was spinning, maybe some of our universal constants could be 'wrong' ie their values changed due to the influence of the universe's spin. How would you know it was spinning when observing from inside the system: I found very little discussion of this on the internet, except something that states that if the universe was spinning, there would be something known as 'preferred direction' (not sure exactly what that means), and that this has not been detected and therefore it doesn't spin. This does seem odd though, when everything else in the universe has angular momentum - from electrons and subatomic particles to planets, galaxies and even superclusters of galaxies. So why would the universe have an angular momentum of exactly zero? It would seem to be an amazing coincidence
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noah
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 12:39:22 PM »

spinning relative to what?
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Ivan
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 12:34:08 AM »

It's not a popular subject and I couldn't find much info on it, but I think your point is the one used to provide the usual answer that there is no angular momentum of the Universe as a whole, but it is not definitive. Here's an interesting discussion...or at least it might be if I could understand it - http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/430853.html

Angular momentum is conserved in black holes, despite the fact that the spinning body is beyond the event horizon, and therefore technically no longer inside the universe as we know it. So if a singularity can spin relative to the universe, then I would suggest the universe could spin relative to the boundaries of the universe.
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desperate
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 06:27:45 PM »

Ivan said  "and therefore technically no longer inside the universe as we know it."

I don't quite agree there Ivan, Stephen Hawking proved (I think) that black holes aren't quite black, or they have a temperature, also known as Hawking radiation, and this is why eventually black holes should evaporate. Would this mean that they are still interacting and therefore part of our universe, and then could be regarded as spinning in relation to the surroundings?

Brian Greene in the Fabric of the Cosmos discusses a spinning universe, which I am trying to make sense of. When my head stops spinning I will try to report back.

Desp
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Ivan
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 01:50:30 AM »

Hawking Radiation is one of the most profound theories. However, it hasn't been proven. It's a nice idea, and he's someone very worthy of a nobel prize, but cosmologists lag behind in the nobel rankings because it's often impossible to prove their theories (required for nobel prizes, I believe). However, there's a chance that CERN will prove he's right when they ramp up the power (and let's hope he is right), in which case, I suspect he'll get the nobel prize.

It's accepted that singularities are the point at which the rules of physics break down. That's a pretty powerful statement - our conventional physics equations cease to work. As these equations are used to describe and define the universe, it's not unreasonable to suggest that they therefore lie outside our universe. Some people believe black holes are a gateway to other universes.

Let me know if you get anywhere with the Brian Greene book. For such a simple concept, a spinning universe seems to be very difficult to think about. I didn't understand much of what I read on the subject!
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desperate
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2011, 09:07:07 PM »

I,ve had a quick scan of "The Fabric" but the discussion I recall is not in that book, he does however state that the mathematics of General Relativity does allow the universe to have spin, whereas the Machian theories do not.  General Relativity has been shown time and again to be a very close approximation of reality, its main stumbling block was predicting the expansion of the universe that Einstein couldn't come to terms with and he introduced his fudge factor, which as we now know was "His biggest blunder"

Taking an analogy with a skater that conserves her angular momentum by speeding her rate of spin when her arms are by her side and slowing it by extending her arms, In the same way, if the Universe started life  as a singularity of infinite density but also of no size at all then to reach any size at all would be an infinite increase, wouldn't that slow any amount of spin to zero? These are the sort of thoughts that go through my mind when doing a mind numbingly boring job at work.................so sad.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree........................or just barking.

Desperate
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Ted
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 10:21:35 AM »

I've watched a couple of recent-ish lectures/presentations on youtube that reference this. I'll try and find them again.

[edit]

Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPkGEVgOJK0&feature=youtu.be&t=8m38s

and

The Mystery of Empty Space -

Also good examples of the difference between a good presenter and a rather poor one. I highly recommend the first one, if you have 2 hours to spare (make sure you stay to the end for the Q&A session) by Prof Alex Filippenko.

The dvd set referred to in the first presentation is here: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=1810
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 10:49:42 AM by Ted » Logged

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desperate
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 01:07:19 PM »

Thanks for those links Ted, I look forward to viewing those, Dark Energy is very interesting, maybe Einsteins cosmological constant wasn't so wrong after all. I hope we resolve some of these mysteries before we run out of time and energy.

Desperate
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Wickham
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2011, 09:19:36 PM »

More ramblings:

If the universe was spinning, maybe some of our universal constants could be 'wrong' ie their values changed due to the influence of the universe's spin. How would you know it was spinning when observing from inside the system: I found very little discussion of this on the internet, except something that states that if the universe was spinning, there would be something known as 'preferred direction' (not sure exactly what that means), and that this has not been detected and therefore it doesn't spin. This does seem odd though, when everything else in the universe has angular momentum - from electrons and subatomic particles to planets, galaxies and even superclusters of galaxies. So why would the universe have an angular momentum of exactly zero? It would seem to be an amazing coincidence

The water down a plughole principle? If electrons spin, solar systems spin, galaxies spin, perhaps they are all spinning because the universe is spinning.
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biff
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2011, 09:30:03 PM »

i just told everyone that you had gone to bed with a sore head,
              so there must be 2 of u.
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Wickham
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 10:13:19 AM »

I've got up today with a clear head.

The universe has dark energy (73%), dark matter (22.4%) and stars etc (4.6%) so perhaps when the dark matter has been identified we will be able to determine whether it is spinning. In which case my water down a plughole principle might be valid because it might have a drag effect on the much smaller mass of stars and the elements that make them up and create a spin in everything else.

However, as a result of my topic "Where is the centre of the universe" and after reading this page http://www.desy.de/user/projects/Physics/Relativity/GR/centre.html I now accept that there isn't a centre, in which case there cannot be a spin as that would have to happen around a central point. We are all at the centre of the universe as seen from our space and time and the other galaxies don't spin around us.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 11:35:16 AM by Wickham » Logged

14 Upsolar UP-M190M 190W panels total 2.66kWp and 13 Enecsys SMI-200/G83 and 1 SMI-240/G83 72 cell micro-inverters and website gateway unit, ground-mounted in early May 2011; 30 degree slope; 5 degrees east of south; 8 miles west of Salisbury
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