Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales
100 Comments


Guys, this video is a collaboration with
a great channel called beautiful science. If you haven’t seen it check it out. My
friend Chris makes short science videos using really cool animations. In a
previous video, we looked at the smallest scales. We attempted to visualize the
smallest size in the universe – the Planck length, which is about 1.6 X10^- 35 meters. This is so small, that if an atom was the size
of the earth… the Planck length would be smaller than
a proton. But the large scale size of the universe is equally mind-blowing. For
example, if the Sun was the size of a basketball, how far do you think the
nearest star Proxima Centauri, our neighbour would be? Would it be on the
other end of the basketball court? Would it be further, like maybe a mile away?
Maybe 10 miles away? Take a wild guess… you would have to keep going much
farther. If you were playing basketball in New York City, our neighbor Proxima
Centauri, would be about 4,500 miles away on a basketball court somewhere in
Moscow! And there are 10 sextillion such stars in the universe – that is 1 followed
by 22 zeros. And each one of them is approximately the same distance apart
from each other as Proxima Centauri is from the Sun. In fact, the universe is
bigger than even what our most powerful telescopes can see. How big is the
universe in terms of numbers? And in fact could it be infinite?
Is there any way we can even begin to visualize what infinity is? We just might
be able to do it. How?…That’s coming up right now! Let’s start with some genius
animations created by Carrie and Michael Huang, who have generously given us
permission to use them. The link to their website is in the description below.
We’ll start with the scale of a human being and work our way up, because it
helps to start with something relatable. And the size of your body should be the
most relatable scale – about one to three meters. These would be objects like a
bicycle, or a sunflower bloom. If we go a hundred times bigger, to about a hundred
meters we will be at the scale of a Boeing 747 jet, or the size of an
American football field. Let’s go a thousand times bigger than the scale of
a human – about a thousand meters. Now we’re looking at the tallest building in
the world, the Burj Khalifa – 830 meters. Also, Vatican City is
only about one kilometer in length. Let’s go a thousand times bigger than this – one
million meters. Now we’re on the scale of California and Italy, both of which are
about 1200 km in length. We also begin to approach now
some of the smallest spherical celestial objects – the former smallest planet Pluto
which is about 2,300 kilometers in diameter.
Pluto was reclassified in 2006 to the protest of many people, especially kids,
to be designated a lowly “dwarf planet.” Let’s go a thousand times larger than
this scale, or 1 billion meters. We will now be going way past the size of the
earth, which is only about 12,742 km in diameter.
And we are passing even the size of Jupiter, which is more than ten times larger in
diameter than earth – about a hundred and forty thousand kilometers, or a hundred
and forty million meters. Jupiter is actually only slightly smaller than our
nearest star neighbor – Proxima Centauri, which is only about two hundred fifteen
thousand kilometers in diameter, much smaller than our Sun, which is about 1.4
million kilometers, or 1.4 billion meters. Let’s go a thousand
times larger than the size of the Sun, or one trillion meters. Now we’re looking at
some of the largest and brightest stars that we can see in the Milky Way galaxy –
stars like Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, the ninth brightest star in the sky,
which is 1.2 billion kilometers in diameter. One of the brightest stars in
the sky is also the largest known star in the Milky Way galaxy – V Y Canis
Majoris, at about two billion kilometers in diameter. Let’s go a thousand times
larger than this, or 1 quadrillion meters. We’ll be passing by the Oort cloud which
is thought to be a spherical shell consisting of up to 2 trillion comets
that surrounds the solar system. This is where an occasional gravitational
disturbance can send a comet hurtling towards the Sun, or more ominously
towards the earth. This spherical cloud starts at about 1 trillion kilometres
away from the Sun, and ends about 15 trillion kilometres away from the Sun.
This also forms the outer boundary of our solar system,
where the gravitational influence of the Sun is minimal to non-existent.
Now we’re at the scale of a Lightyear, which is about 9.4 quadrillion
meters, or 9.4 trillion kilometers. Let’s go a thousand times
larger than this or 1 quintillion meters. This is about 100 light-years. Now we can
talk in terms of the scale of our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, our home galaxy.
We’re going to go past the size of some of the most spectacular structures in
the universe – things like the pillars of creation, and the Eagle Nebula, as well as
some of the smaller galaxies that surround our Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy
is about a 106,000 thousand light-years across, or almost exactly one
quintillion kilometers. That’s 10^21 meters, containing anywhere from 250
billion to 400 billion stars. Other than the fact that we live here, there’s
really nothing particularly remarkable about our galaxy. It’s a typical spiral
galaxy. There are billions of such galaxies in the universe.
Our neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy is larger, containing one trillion stars.
When we go a thousand times larger than this, we begin to see the superstructure
of the universe which is made up of super clusters. We live in such a
structure called the Virgo supercluster. It also contains Andromeda and about a
hundred other galaxies. It’s about a hundred and ten million light-years in
diameter, or 10^21, or one sextillion kilometers across. There are
estimated to be about 10 million super clusters in the universe. When we go a
thousand times larger than this, we reach the end of the visible universe, at about
the scale of 10^27 meters. The observable universe has a diameter of
about 93 billion light years, almost exactly 10^27 meters. How is it
that the universe is only 13.8 billion years old, but it’s 93 billion light
years across? Shouldn’t it be 13.8 billion light years
across, if nothing can travel faster than light? That’s a great question because
it’s pretty confusing. First, 13.8 billion light years would be the radius of a
sphere, so the diameter would be twice that, or 27.6 billion light years.
This is basically what we see in the WMAP Our universe’s microwave background
photo. In fact each of the red bumps you see on this photo has evolved into a
super cluster that I talked about earlier. But the reason our universe is
actually 93 billion light years across, and not 13.8 billion light years across
is because the universe has been expanding for the entire 13.8 billion
years. And due to the cosmological redshift, we know that the farther away
an object is the faster it appears to be moving away from us. And we can calculate
that those superclusters of galaxies, based on the expansion of the universe.
would be 46.5 billion light years from us by this time. That’s the
radius, so the diameter of the universe would be twice that or 93 billion light
years across. In fact, if we waited 46.5 billion years we would be
able to see the light emitted right now from those super clusters, because the
light would have started on its journey towards us just
about now. But we will actually never eventually see this light, because in
1998, we discovered something called “dark energy,” and learned that the universe is
not in a steady expansion, but rather an accelerating expansion. So that light
will be receding from us at greater than the speed of light. But isn’t the speed
of light the cosmic speed limit? Yes, for things traveling within space. But
there’s no limit on the expansion of space itself. The space between galaxies
is expanding faster than light. The galaxies are not travelling within space
faster than light. But could it be though that what we can actually see is just a
minuscule portion of a universe that’s actually infinite? Is there any way to
determine whether the universe could be Infinite? Well, the Cosmic Microwave
Background gives us a clue. It’s the leftover glow from the Big Bang. Although
it looks fairly uniform, there is a lot of information there. One of the things
that this microwave background tells us is that the universe appears to be flat.
How do we know this? Scientists look for what we would see if the universe was a
certain shape. They look for the curvature of space. If space was not flat,
but positively curved, like a four-dimensional sphere, then we would
expect to see multiple images of the same object in the sky, because distant
light rays would converge. This is like ants on a balloon
trying to measure the flatness of their 2d universe by adding up the angles in a
triangle, to make sure that they add up to 180 degrees. In a positively curved
universe, the angles would add up to greater than 180 degrees. Likewise,
distant light rays would diverge if we live in a negatively curved space shaped
like a saddle, and the angles would add up to less than 180 degrees. Data from
the WMAP as well as Planck spacecraft however, indicates that the universe is
flat, or nearly flat, with an error of about 0.4%. A flat universe would be an
infinite universe. But if the error is taken into account, then it is possible
that the universe could have a slightly positive curvature. In that case, it would
be finite, but would have to be a radius at least
250 times larger than the part that we can see. This would be a minimum size of
about 11.6 trillion light years in radius, or about 23 trillion
light years in diameter, instead of the 93 billion that we can see. This is huge,
but would be much much smaller than infinity. Infinity is a very large number.
Imagine a really large number, like a googol – the real googol, spelled
differently than what you’re used to seeing. This is 10^100 light years.
That’s 1 followed by 100 zeros. Or a googolplex, which is 10 ^10^100 power, that’s 10 to the Google power, an extremely large number, much larger
than even the Planck volume that would fit inside the observable universe, which
would be about 4.7 x 10^185 Planck volumes but infinity would be much much larger than either of those
numbers. It goes on forever after all. Imagine the earth being a perfect sphere,
and an ant trying to figure out its curvature by drawing large triangles, and
seeing if the angles add up to 180 degrees. It may conclude that the earth is flat.
So our universe appears to be consistent with a flat universe, although we can’t
rule out a curved universe. So our best guess is, right now, that the universe is
infinite. But infinities in science tend to be due to errors, so we should be
skeptical about this result. What we do know for sure is that the universe is
much larger than the part that we can observe. The problem is we only have
access to the information contained in our tiny 93 billion light year bubble,
that we call the observable universe. We can only infer from what we can see. This
is like a sailor on a boat, in the open sea, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
at night, trying to figure out where the ocean ends, with nothing but the Stars to
guide him. Guys, I talked about some of the largest numbers, but my friend Chris
over at Beautiful Science has a great video on some of the smallest numbers and
scales, numbers that I think you’re going to find very interesting.
So click the link in the description to see his video. And if you liked this
video then please give us a thumbs up, and share with your friends. Be sure to
check out some of our other popular videos. I’ll see you in the next video my
friend!

100 thoughts on “Visualizing infinity. Is the universe infinite? the largest scales

  1. Hey Arvin, amazing video, all the feels! Thanks for the 2 part collaboration, was a pleasure working with you. Looking forward to seeing what you have lined up next :).

  2. I like it, great job making this video. I think the most interesting part is how the shapes change their properties under different circumstances, so if our geometry change laws to infinite ways it is obvious the universe is infinite as well…

  3. The day we figure out the exact size of universe, the universe probably would turn out to be finite but our egos will become infinite.

  4. The universe is always expanding and at a rate that prevents us from seeing it all. So in some ways it is infinite? Eventually everything will be so diminished that the only matter left is practically nonexistent. Unless matter can just keep breaking down smaller and smaller forever ♾

  5. That's what's been bothering me.
    We've been bought up to understand the universe is infinite AND there is only ONE-UNIverse: hence the name.
    Is it is or is it ain't?
    Is it now 'infinite' due to the discovery of the multiverse? Or, doesn't that count?.. despite 'information' being eternal?
    How does E8 crystal theory appraise all this 'new stuff'?
    Cheers… 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. Someone said that once.

  6. Amazing video Arvin Ash!! Great job explaining infinity! Makes you feel small, doesn't it… being tiny carbon beings living in a small planet in an isolated solar system in an average galaxy in a big supercluster of other galaxies in a gigantic Universe that may be infinite which might be part of an infinite Multiverse. Whew! You should go to everythingforever.com . It's got some really intriguing ideas on zero and infinity. It's what my channel is about :). I think you'll like it

  7. That basketball comparison actually made the universe seem smaller to me. You obviously dont see a big star nearby so there wouldnt be any other basketballs in the same basketball court im sure that didnt surprise anyone

  8. At minute five why is all that a light year then one thousand times bigger its only 100 light years why is that??

  9. Great video, what I expected. I love the way you adress the large numbers, and make em easier. i have learned alot since i joined the channel and for that im greatfull

  10. Really good presentation, finally someone that taks in a speed thats easy to follow. Every one else seems to think its a contest who is the fastest talker and try to be funny all the time even if the subject is genocide or something. No this is good thank you. igeer to see whats ahead.

  11. Error of 0.4 % … if you know anything about physic and distances in universe you just slaping your face about how RIDICULOUSLY BIG IS 0.4% ERROR when we talking about measuring universe …… IM MEAN WTF …..

  12. There's something that's bugging me about UFO's. I think some of the evidence is at least, compelling. Mass sightings, credible witnesses, the recently released air-force videos. So if true, what could be the reason why they would behave like this? If they have some sort of non-intervention policy they seem awfully nonchalant about it. If they don't care cause we're so primitive, then why fly so close. Why would they be here at all if they don't want something?

  13. So if the universe is flat then how do we account for anything three dimensional and the sun and moon's rotation around the Earth?

  14. I don't believe in real infinities. To me an infinity means there is no way to measure it. I do believe in mathematical infinities.

  15. So Earth is round but the much larger universe it is apart of is flat=so perception is based upon ego, classic. Don't worry it's all AI anyway meaning the data scientists arrive at has been fabricated to produce a narrative useful to the author of the program leading the story. I say send this author to a padded cell & find someone who actually cares for life.

  16. Just one thing to point out here, the universe being geometrically flat doesn't automatically translated into an infinite universe. A flat universe can have a finite size if it has a non-trivial topology.

  17. Minor Error at 8:00–8:45
    Dark Matter has NOT been discovered, only theorized through math, aka guesssing
    10^6 of reseaarch dollars and All multible experiments to actually find any has failed.
    Dark Energy is just as weak.

  18. Incredible & crystal clear explanation of this video. So.. If the Universe is infinite & keeps on expanding then there is really no end of the World as Nostradamus had predicted.,perhaps only some changes or evolutions of time & space.

  19. 4:55
    Wait, are you telling me there is legitimately a celestial object named "Gomez's Hamburger?" That's the best thing I've heard all week!

  20. It seems to me that an infinite universe makes absolutely no sense and is in a very practical sense impossible. An infinite universe implies an infinite number of galaxies and this simply cannot be true. Galaxies are "things" and real world things MUST be countable, and therefore not infinite in number. Also recent studies that show that the hubble constant may not be as constant as we thought, supports the view of a positively curved, ultra ultra large universe (finite but unbounded).

  21. Infinity as strange.There is an infinite amount number between 3 and 4 and infinite amount of numbers between 3 and5,but the infinite amount of numbers between 3 and five are certainly bigger than the infinite amount between 3 and 4

  22. Here's one that should grab you. We think of light as being REALLY fast. It is… BUT it travels only just less than ONE FOOT in one Nano Second. If you lived upon an atom, you would be too small to detect light with your body as, the shortest light wave is over 200 nano meters long. On your atom planet, your entire body would be a thousand times SMALLER than that. Cool huh? You would be MUCH too small to know what light is. Likely you would see in Gamma Rays. P.S. Personally, I consider Gamma Rays to be actual particles, about 1/20th the mass of an Electron which I consider to be constructed of 20 of the suckers. But, dat's just my opinion. Richard Feynman had a great quote: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts". Me, I believe in infinity and that Big Bang is the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.

  23. This is an awesome drop of information especially with the ESA trying to say data from the Planck satellite points toward a possible curved and closed universe.

  24. OK, if the universe is flat, then how do a preponderance of 3D celestial bodies exist in it? I have a feeling they wasted their time proving Earth is round LOL.

  25. Every time you blink a big bang could be happening. Just like there are many stars, there could also be many universes. And those universes could be contained inside another spherical entity of space that we will never have a name for.

  26. Are you out of your mind?
    Don't say 9:10 that the universe is
    flat. All the crazy flatearthers
    will cry out triumphantly.

  27. Plotting 0.33 recurring on a number line also indicates infinity on the opposite scale which I find amazing. Two lines converging for ever that will never actually meet. We made a huge room sized line graph at school (half a century ago lol) and plotted this number until our lines were too small to manage. Any boundary implies something beyond, and this seems to be the case in both directions. There must be an 'edge' to it all yet there cannot be, yet there must aarrrg – awesome though at this point my head hurts hehe.

  28. The 13,000,000,000 year quandary? it's because we measure the red shift in the spectrum of light from an object to determine its distance from our observational point of reference. BUT…this is conditional on the vacuum of space being uniform, which we have no means to verify. Areas of space with a lower vacuum, than that which surrounds us, would take light longer to travel through, shifting the red spectrum making it appear that its point of origin was farther away than it actually is. …Wait a sec! You guys actually get paid for pondering about this stuff!! Where do I sign up!!

  29. There is new evidence that suggests that the argument for a spherical universe is supported.https://youtu.be/9bzM0KLyZC0 although only to about 3 sigma.

  30. uhh so small and insignificant we are home sapiens are. Just imagine all there might be out there the universe. Unfortunately, life is just to short to think of every combination of DNA or events or geographies in the universe Exeter.

  31. When you say the universe is flat in a 4th dimensional perspective. Is it flat in a sense that the universe is a "hologram" that would look 3D/2D? Is this why some scientist believe in Simulation theory??

  32. 2:02 The size of your body should be the most relatable scale – about 1 to 3 meters. 3 meters is about 10 feet, who tf grow that tall??

  33. Infinity really refers to a process: endless iteration. An infinite universe is not merely big, it's unbounded. If you substitute the word "reality" for "universe" – where "reality" means any possible arrangement of mass/energy, spacetime, quantum fields – it's easier to intuit that the universe can be unlimited. Why would "reality" have a boundary?

  34. Hey arvin we may be able to calculate the size of the universe now. New data might indicate a slight curvature. https://youtu.be/9bzM0KLyZC0

  35. What does the universe being flat mean? The geometrical analogy as described in this video doesn't answer this question for me, because it is not a literal analogy.
    Since light travels in all directions, the shape of the universe is always going to be spherical, so how does the possibility of a rectangular, hyperbolic/parabolic shape come about?
    I.e. what does flat, negatively curved or positively curved in the context of this video literally mean?
    Can anyone give a simple english explanation for dummies please😆, many thanks

  36. Is a hall of mirrors infinite? That is a question which cannot be answered definitively, because things tend to fade with increasing distance, until they become too faint and blurred to resolve. But one thing we can say is that there is no sign of an edge anywhere. Also there is extreme homogeneity which we could reasonably expect to continue beyond the limits of our vision. All those people in the distance, who are waving their hands whenever we wave ours, they all look a lot like us, albeit with a distortion which seems to increase with distance; but that distortion could be due to the light from them being somehow bent slightly as it traces its path towards us.

  37. I think there is a mistake in the video. the universe is 247 times bigger in volume not in diameter.
    isn't it?
    thanks for all.

  38. Size of universe is about 11 trillion light years.
    While our observable universe is "only" 90 billion light years, it means our observable universe is about 0.82%, yet we can't even travel towards our nearest star (Proxima Centaury) and the fastest spacecraft we ever made like Helios-1 still takes 12.000 years to reach Proxima Centaury.

  39. If anything is possible is it possible that the universe is impossibly endless? 🤔…is it possible that I just did not Make any sense? Hmmmm…

  40. Odd that this video came out within a couple days of the release of research that the universe might actually be round like a balloon. Honestly tho our universe is flat when viewing it from a 4th dimension perspective so both are right?

  41. This is interesting because when this video was published, a new study suggested that space might be closed and not flat, which means the universe can be or is finite

  42. Dear sir if your looking for the universe space and the expansion read the comment I have left on your post whats inside a black hole beyond the event horizon? A nother universe most off it should be there for you.

  43. If the universe is infinite; does that automatically mean that there are multiple copies of everything?
    Ie. Can there be one unique thing in an infinite universe?
    Can we be unique; the only life, in an infinite universe?

  44. Just a random thought of mine:
    I think we will never discover the secrets of the universe, maybe because we perceive a different reality or lower dimension?

  45. I suppose it's equally possible that the slight positive curvature is due to an undulation in a flat universe. If the universe was indeed flat wouldn't that knock current cosmology into a cocked hat? Surely an infinite universe has no beginning or end?
    Is it possible in this scenario that the observed red shift is due to a wave running through the universe similar to but not exactly the same as an ocean wave?

  46. An Infinite Universe doesn’t have a middle but if everything started from the big bang than the location of the bigbang must have been the middle so i guess the universe could be finite

  47. I think space might be integral to matter itself, because matter must have space and therefore where there is no matter there may be no space, i.e., space exists because matter does — the two accompany one another. I wonder if as matter spreads from the initial point of the big bang, that perhaps space results from the presence of that matter, so the universe exists everywhere matter has reached so far. There might be somewhere out there that has no space, but if you went to look there would be space because you are made of matter. In this case an absolute void would not just be the absence of matter, but also the absence of space for matter to exist in. That would mean that space is a thing and an essential part of the universe, rather than just being a preexisting nothing for the universe to inhabit. Maybe the universe ends at the point where matter has not been yet — or do I have a matter-centric universe view? If this was true, then the outer limits of the universe could be interesting as matter pushes further out in a space-less void and creates space for itself to exist in. Might be awesome. It also suggests something beyond the material universe. Something that exists but is not matter would not require space, so could exist beyond the material universe.

  48. Universe is finite and boundary is Schwarzschild Radius. Thought experiment – What does a black-hole look like from the inside? What if we ourselves and our whole universe were inside our own black-hole? (hint: we are). Wouldn't space-time be curved? How would the Einstein and Friedman equation solutions differ from their current (free-space) form? When science has to contort itself, one can be certain mistakes are being made? Re-derive Einstein Friedman (using Schwarzschild boundary conditions) and watch elegant simplicity ensue?

  49. Dear Arvin. You are the third populiser, starting noting about universe flatness, and the possibility of slight curvature.
    This happens after long time of stubborn confidence, supporting universe flatness.
    You very well understand that this is not just a more detailed presentation, but a real revolution in cosmology. Flatness has been essential in the basic cosmology modelling, and accepting possible decline, we need to review Alan Guth inflation, and dark energy assumptions.
    I several times prompted to.alternative analysis options. We all already know the discrepancies in H. constant estimation depending on method.
    So the question about the flatness is not new.
    What is my question.
    What happened and you, together with others, start to prepare the public for this? Shall we expect new announcements?
    Is there a radical new approach in the mainstream cosmology?
    What is coming next?
    Friendly from one of your fans.
    Thank you.

  50. Nice video! And by the way, new observations from the ESA Planck satellite studying the light from the Cosmic Microwave Background suggests that, indeed, the universe might be curved after all.
    https://www.sciencealert.com/wild-new-study-suggests-the-universe-is-curved-not-flat

  51. So there flat earther earth is round but the universe are flat considered it a consolation price!

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