I have dabbled in the more mysterious bits of the universe. Though I know we can’t truly explain everything, I’ve poked at the odds and ends we’re grabbing to try and tie it all together in my own way. I’ve looked beyond what we see to the structure of things, and I’ve come away with an inkling of how the universe works – as far as we understand it.
But now there’s this weird problem coming to light where the universe seems to be expanding faster than predicted and previously measured, and I think I might actually have a theory that fits the problem. I like to call this theory “the inherent entropy of space.”
In the inherent entropy of space, we can think of the big bang as the ultimate moment of order. At the moment before expansion started (okay so time didn’t exist before the big bang – but stick with me) you could consider everything that existed to be in its most organized state. It was crammed into the tiniest amount of “space” possible, had reached its maximum possible density, and therefore was in perfect order. The problem with order however, is that in the universe as we know it everything is tending towards disorder. Disorder is the ground state; the state that everything wants to reach. It’s the bottom, whereas the big bang is the top by comparison.
So picture the big bang as the top of a hill, and the bottom of the hill as the end of the universe; or at least its disorderly ground state. As we allow things to fall out of order and be subjected to the pull of the ground state, the universe expands – akin to moving down the hill. But without anything to hinder that fall, and being that the ground state is so desirable that things at the top of the hill “want” to get there, they accelerate as they tend in that direction.
In effect, the universe seems to be falling from a state of high-density energized order, to low-density minimal energy disorder by the natural progression of time. Where zero is perfect order at the highest level, infinity is complete disorder at the lowest level. They’re opposites, and that’s important.
But how does this explain the conflicting readings of how fast the universe is expanding?
Well, the measurement of expansion is based on light – which takes time to reach us, meaning we’re always looking into the past. If the universe is expanding faster and faster all the time (it’s gaining speed as it “falls” from high energy high density to low energy low density), then the path that the light takes to reach us undergoes expansion as well. We can’t account (yet?) for that changing path length and how fast it changes, so our measurements come out different depending on how far the light has traveled (and therefore how old the light is). Therefore, we’ll get different results depending on how old the light is that reaches us. Looking further back will skew current expansion speed results further out of accuracy than looking closer, but we have to look far back in order to measure expansion. The trick that would give us a more accurate result in a universe that expands with a constant speed actually makes measuring that way in an accelerating expansion universe less accurate.
So, taking that into consideration, let’s break down our two measurements.
The faster of the readings comes from something that exists closer in the universe’s overall timeline to “now” than the big bang. Measuring the speed of expansion by looking at certain type of standard candles (a predictable light source) called Cepheid variables gives an expansion value of around 46 miles per second per megaparsec.
The slower of the readings comes from something that was created almost right after the big bang; the cosmic microwave background (CMB). With an apparent expansion speed of just under 42 miles per second per megaparsec, the CMB supports the idea that the speed of expansion was slower in the past.
But here’s the thing; if time makes a difference, that means the rate of expansion must be changing. Being that the older object would’ve had lower start values to bring its average down (ie; it started closer to 0 miles per second per megaparsec), and the newer object would only have higher relative numbers to factor into its average, it stands to reason that the older object would have a lower measurable result if all things were assumed equal – which it does.
Now, if you follow the logic that the big bang was the top of the hill, and the end of the universe is the bottom of the hill, this makes sense. As something moves down a hill here on Earth it gains speed due to acceleration, and that acceleration on Earth (or anywhere remotely massive) is called gravity. For the universe however, acceleration is powered by the “attractiveness” of the base state – or in other words, the fact that things tend to disorder. As the universe falls into disorder and expands, it accelerates.
So there you have it; if you ask me, the inherent entropy of space is what’s causing the “precise” expansion measurements to disagree. The universe is expanding faster every moment, and will until it hits the “wall” of the lowest possible state.
I’m not a physicist, but given the evidence and the strength of the measurements that much seems obvious to even me. The universe isn’t expanding at a constant speed, or slowing down; it’s expanding faster and faster as it “falls” towards its ground state.
Who’s with me? 😛