We cannot see back further in time or farther out in space than the speed of light, within our expanding universe, permits. The universe is expanding and the farther out we see with our ever-improving optics (Hubble is soon to be superseded by the James Webb Space Telescope) the faster this expansion appears to be. At the outside edge the total expansion, from our point of view, is equal to the speed of light! Any light that is on the outside of this boundary simply cannot reach us, so we cannot see anything past this edge. Everything projected to be beyond this boundary is purely speculative unprovable Sci Fi.
"Goldilocks Valley" from The Clair Collection by Martin Eichinger
It appears we are in a bubble along with a local event that we call the Big Bang. But in addition to our Big Bang, we also have an incredible variety of phenomenon, including black holes, potentially an almost infinite number of them, consuming each other and collapsing into larger singularities. We do not know if the universe was empty when our theorized Big Bang took place. And we know almost nothing about dark matter and dark energy and their significance in relation to the Big Bang or the condensing black holes. Einstein helped us understand a process that connects our Big Bang to Black Holes but not a theory that connects condensing Black Holes to some potential future Big Bang! Stephen Hawking explained how radiation can escape from a Black Hole but not how big it can get or if it eventually transforms into something else. . . like another Big Bang. Everything else we know about nature and the universe is about how one thing evolves into another.
It seems easier to believe and to project, that over sufficient time, measured in an infinite number of years, rather than in the blink of a few billion or trillion, that this is a natural cycle that just hasn’t yet been theorized.
It’s easier for me to believe because this is how all the rest of nature works, there is no ‘beginning’ just eternal transitioning from one state to another. Everything is a Chicken and Egg problem.
"Going Supernova" from The Clair Collection by Martin Eichinger
A pebble lands in a pond. An extremely intelligent mayfly observes the ripples, perceives that the expanding patterns suggests that there was a beginning point and proclaims “A-hah! The pond is here because it all started with a pebble!”
Suggesting that nothingness preceded the Big Bang because nothing is north of north or that the Bible suggests and establishes that there was a “beginning” sounds silly to me. The more profound search is to comprehend the continuum, not in finding a beginning. Religious mythology has led humanity down the wrong path in their various ways of explaining, “How it all began.” And, “Only god is infinite.”
"Outer Exerbia" from The Clair Collection by Martin Eichinger
I project here that there will someday be a theory that connects condensing Black Holes with a future Big Bang. Perhaps it’s already out there being debated by our most advanced theoretical physicists. If so, I have not run into it. . . yet.
Therefore, the size of our Knowable Universe (KU) is determined when the Expansion Rate of the Universe (ER/U) achieves the speed of light (C). This distance equals Radius (R). So, according to Cavalieri's principle* When ER/U = C 4/3 • π r cubed bla, bla, bla. . . somebody smarter than me calculated that out. But note* Calvalieri was a fine art painter, not a math guy.
Bottom line - we are like mayflies contemplating the pond when we try to imagine the magnitude of the universe.
- M. C. Eichinger