A Universe Smaller than the Observable | Summary and Q&A

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November 19, 2010
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Khan Academy
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A Universe Smaller than the Observable

TL;DR

The observable universe is just a tiny fraction of the entire universe, and there is a possibility that the actual universe is smaller than what we can observe.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the theory of cosmic inflation?

The theory of cosmic inflation proposes that in the early moments after the Big Bang, there was a rapid expansion of space, leading to the vast size of the observable universe.

Q: Is it possible that the actual universe is smaller than the observable universe?

Yes, it is possible. The theory of cosmic inflation suggests that the observable universe is just a fraction of the entire universe, but we cannot rule out the idea that the actual universe is smaller than what we can observe.

Q: How does the expansion of space affect our view of the universe?

The expansion of space means that light from distant objects takes a long time to reach us. Therefore, what we observe is not the current state of those objects, but how they looked billions of years ago.

Q: Can we see ourselves in the universe?

No, we cannot see ourselves because the light emitted from our region of space on a previous pass would have taken billions of years to reach us and would look completely different from the current state.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The observable universe is believed to be smaller than the entire universe.

  • The theory of cosmic inflation suggests that the observable universe is just a fraction of the actual universe.

  • It is possible that the actual universe is smaller than what we can observe.

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