Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Physics Question #2

This problem has come to be known as Olber's Paradox, something familiar to those involved in astrophysics:

Suppose that the Universe is infinitely large and would then contain an infinite number of uniformly distributed stars. This would indicate, then, that the night sky should not, in fact, be dark, it should be infinitely bright! Even if the stars are at a great distance away, there would be more stars at that distance, and thus a large amount of light. So why then, does the night sky appear dark?

Now, one could easily use Google to find a solution to this apparent paradox, but try not to do that, you won't be exercising your mind if you do. Just take a few moments, think, and then post your proposed solution. If you would like, you can then Google it, but I shouldn't take as long to answer this one as I did the previous.


Melanie said...

I thought you weren't going to take a long time to post the answer...? ;-p

Greg said...

Well it's been quite a long time and no one has answered the question... period, let alone given a correct response.

The short and dirty way is that the speed of light is finite, and thus, since the age of the universe is finite, the light has not had time to reach Earth from every point in space, or for that matter, from many points in space.

This is a qualitative argument in favor of the big bang theory of the universe.