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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 13, 2005 20:15:30 GMT -6
The universe may be revealing its shape
From World Science...
For centuries, scientists, philosophers and ordinary people have wondered whether the universe is infinite, and what its shape might be. In two recent studies, scientists say signals from the explosion that gave rise to the universe may be leading them to answers to both questions.
Some researchers say the universe may be shaped like a dodecahedron, in which objects that go out one side come back in the opposite. As for whether the universe is infinite, these signals point to “no,” the researchers say.
As for its shape, if ever a shape could be at once hauntingly beautiful, yet impossible to draw or visualize exactly, this one might be it. But roughly, it would resemble a dodecahedron, a 12-sided box similar to some dice used in the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
The dodecahedral universe claims are based on observations of the furthest reaches of our universe. Since light takes time to travel, the further we peer out into space with telescopes, the further back in time we see. If we look far enough, we can see the aftermath of the “Big Bang,” a tremendous explosion that astronomers believe created our universe.