Observations and Some Implications

Observations and Some Implications - Newton knew that if...

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Observations and Some Implications At first you might think that in order to understand the structure of something as large as the universe, which by definition contains everything there is, you would need some very powerful telescope to see to the farthest reaches of space and a complex theoretical model. Actually, there are some powerful conclusions you can draw from observations with the naked eye. You will explore that first and then move on to conclusions you can draw from extending your eyesight. You will explore the basic questions that human beings have been asking themselves ever since we have walked the Earth: where did we come from and where are we going? Universe Contains Mass---Why has the Universe Not Collapsed? The universe is not empty. There is matter with mass, so the attraction of gravity is present.
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Unformatted text preview: Newton knew that if the universe has existed forever and is static, that is, it has no net pattern of motion, then there must be enough time for gravity to collapse the universe, but this has clearly not happened! He knew of three ways to resolve this paradox. Either the universe is infinite in volume and mass or it is expanding fast enough to overcome the gravitational attraction or the universe has a beginning and/or an end. The last two ways violate the assumptions of an eternal and static universe, of course. So Newton chose the infinite universe option. Notice that you are able to arrive at the conclusion of an infinite universe from just one observation: the universe is not empty. No telescopes are needed, just the ability to follow a train of logical thought to its conclusion....
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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