Is Space Finite?; The Once and Future Cosmos; Special Editions; by Jean-Pierre Luminet, Glenn D. Starkman and Jeffrey R. Weeks; 8 Page(s)
Looking up at the sky on a clear night, we feel we can see forever. There seems to be no end to the stars and galaxies; even the darkness in between them is filled with light if only we stare through a sensitive enough telescope. In truth, of course, the volume of space we can observe is limited by the age of the universe and the speed of light. But given enough time, could we not peer ever farther, always encountering new galaxies and phenomena?
Maybe not. Like a hall of mirrors, the apparently endless universe might be deluding us. The cosmos could, in fact, be finite. The illusion of infinity would come about as light wrapped all the way around space, perhaps more than once-creating multiple images of each galaxy. Our own Milky Way galaxy would be no exception; bizarrely, the skies might even contain facsimiles of the earth at some earlier era. As time marched on, astronomers could watch the galaxies develop and look for new mirages. But eventually no new space would enter into their view. They would have seen it all.