Relativly Crazy!!

Yes, the universe itself will eventually outpace the speed of light. Just how this will happen is a bit complicated, so let’s begin at the very beginning: the big bang. Around 14 billion years ago, all matter in the universe was thrown in every direction. That first explosion is still pushing galaxies outward. Scientists know this because of the Doppler effect, among other reasons. The wavelengths of light from other galaxies shift as they move away from us, just as the pitch of an ambulance siren changes as it moves past.

Take Hydra, a cluster of galaxies about three billion light years away. Astronomers have measured the distance from the Earth to Hydra by looking at the light coming from the cluster. Through a prism, Hydra’s hydrogen looks like four strips of red, blue-green, blue-violet and violet. But during the time it takes Hydra’s light to reach us, the bands of color have shifted down toward the red end—the low-energy end—of the spectrum. On their journey across the universe, the wavelengths of light have stretched. The farther the light travels, the more stretched it gets. The farther the bands shift toward the red end, the farther the light has traveled. The size of the shift is called the redshift, and it helps scientists figure out the movement of stars in space. Hydra isn’t the only distant cluster of galaxies that displays a redshift, though. Everything is shifting, because the universe is expanding. It’s just easier to see Hydra’s redshift because the farther a galaxy is from our own, the faster it is moving away.

There is no limit to how fast the universe can expand, says physicist Charles Bennett of Johns Hopkins University. Einstein’s theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum still holds true, because space itself is stretching, and space is nothing. Galaxies aren’t moving through space and away from each other but with space—like raisins in a rising loaf of bread. Some galaxies are already so far away from us, and moving away so quickly, that their light will never reach Earth. “It’s like running a 5K race, but the track expands while you’re running,” Bennett says. “If it expands faster than you can run, you’ll never get where you’re going."

Update: There's been a new discovery at CERN, where some very unusual results show that neutrinos are moving faster than light itself. Though the evidence would normally be enough to say this for sure, the nature of the discovery is so bizarre that more studies are being undertaken to try to figure out exactly what's going on.

Pause!!

So you mean to tell me that it's not the objects in space that are expanding away from each other but the space itself?

Hmmmm.

If space (i.e. vacuum) is nothing and it's the nothing that's expanding, how is that different from objects moving away from each other in nothing?

Also, if solid matter expanding through the void of space can eventually exceed the speed of light (obviously by some force -- dark energy maybe -- ), whats to say that technology can not be developed to exploit the properties of the energy effecting space for relativistic travel to any point in space?

There's only one truth (not fact but a common truth on this world at least); the universe is infinite. We understand much, but we don't know it all yet, so we can not pretend that the universe will adhere to all of our preconceptions.

Whenever there's a will, there's a way. The more we learn, the more outlandish concepts will eventually be legitimized through our evolved understanding.

Another thing....

OK people.. back up a bit. Space is not "nothing" Nor is it a true vacuum. We need to stop and redefine "Space" using a centries old definition is counter productive. We have found that "Space"... the area between everything, is actually "Space-Time" and actually acts very fabric like.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/04may_epic/

Nasa has proven that our own planet is screwing with space-time. The simple weight and rotation of your planet has skewed space-time around us. Since we know almost nothing (proven factual information, not abscure theory or math) about the mechanics of space-time itself we really can't jump to any actually conclusions here. What if those objects are not spacially moving away, just the area's of space-time between them are growing denser.

I have a huge pet-peeve with the whole "everything moving away" crap. Earth is not the center of the "Big Bang" we are just a surfer on the wave so to speak, so shouldn't something be coming towards up at some speed? Why is EVERYTHING we see out there moving away from us? And when we calculate distance to figure age, we are not taking measurements from the center of the "Big Bang" we are taking measurements from Earth. So saying just because Galaxy ABC is XYZ away from earth, than the age of Galaxy ABC is XYZ. That's not how that works, why can't you super smart scientists realize that. Now, if earth was somehow the center of everything, then yes, that method of age calculation works fine. But it's more like we are looking across a field at someone walking at a vector to ourselves, we cannot gauge how long said person has been walking by the distance between us. That person across the field could have just left their house... or they could have been out for hours/months/days/years, just because they are 100 yards away, doesn't mean they are 100 yards old.

Sorry for the triad/threadjack... it's just one of the many things that gets me going when so called super-geniuses talk about space. Like.. why almost all orbits of celestial bodies within a 20 degree band (give or take) of a perceived horizontal? Looking at our own solar system from the side, everything pretty much lines up within a 20 degree band. Why, if space is truely 3d.. we should be a ball of objects. When we look at massive galaxies, the same thing is prevolent. When people talk about black holes, it again is done so in a horizontal fashion, like looking at it as if it were a whirlpool. We are missing something huge if this is the case and all things tend to fall into a linear band rather than utilizing all possible directions.

Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978

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