The Universe Is A Freaking Time Machine

in GEMSlast month


Well, not really, but it sure does behave like that! Whenever I think about how the different forces of the cosmos behave on a larger scale, it boggles my mind. Reality sure is a confusing place!

You really have to give credit to the brilliant scientists who figured out how all this stuff works and presented all of that with beautiful mathematical equations.

Anyways, back to the point. The universe is so unimaginably large that the things that we take for granted in our daily lives, make a huge difference on the larger scale.

Take light for example. When we see objects and people, we never think about things like the speed of light, time dilation, how large distances can affect information transmission or any of the other infinite things.

Universe - A Time Machine?

Light forms one of the major ways we perceive reality. And it also happens to be the fastest thing in the universe. It has a speed of 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum. That is quite fast! But on the scale of the cosmos, that is painstakingly slow.

This gives rise to an interesting phenomenon. Light, as a carrier of information, allows the observer to look at the past of an object or a place. For instance, the light from our sun takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach us!

So, the light that we are viewing at any given moment actually presents the state of the sun as it was 8 minutes and 20 seconds ago. This also means that if the Sun were to suddenly disappear, we would only come to know about it 8.33 minutes later! Isn't that wild?

Now consider this. The dinosaurs were wiped off by an asteroid some 66 million years ago. So, if there was an alien species that is 66 million light-years away, and they were pointing their highly advanced telescopes at Earth right now, they would not see us. They would see the event that killed the dinosaurs. So, they would essentially be watching Earth's past.

The crux of the matter is that the further things are from each other in the cosmos, the further they are viewing in each others' past. In a way, this is sad because there is just no "real-time information" about these distant objects! As such, we will never have a true picture of the universe as it is in the present moment.