Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Stars from the Sky

A science news item today discusses the on-going considerations of physics in relation to cosmology: will we end in fire or ice? will the universe crunch? or expand? I quote: "... changes to theories about the ultimate fate of the universe, particularly whether it will collapse in a "big crunch," be completely blown apart in a "big rip" or just drift steadily until galaxies are so far away from each other they cannot be seen -- in effect taking stars from the sky."
Um, excuse me, but on earth the naked eye sees mostly only one galaxy: this one: and precious little of it. The naked eye sees about two thousand stars, most of them local. One needs a telescope, a BIG telescope, to see the hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with their hundreds of billions of stars. Even then one sure can't see them all at once.
(Such numbers are typical but not mandatory. This or that galaxy may have far fewer than hundreds of billions of stars.)
Now if the galaxies themselves expand, our neighbors moving ever further away from each other, that could take the stars from the sky; IF there's still a "we," and we're seeing with naked human eyes.
I don't think so.

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