Re: expansion of the universe (was Re: JOIN [sl4]: Hello, I'm Mercy.)

From: Perry E. Metzger (
Date: Fri Apr 18 2003 - 18:04:39 MDT

"mike99" <> writes:
> ...
> > The visible universe is 42 billion light years in radius, even though
> > the age of the universe is only 13.7 billion light years (to within
> > 1%, according to the WMAP data). This, apparently, because of the
> > expansion of the universe. I don't pretend to understand how the
> > universe could have expanded such that two points separated at a rate
> > greater than c -- perhaps someone with a physics background could
> > explain about this.
> The currently favored explanation for this is Alan Guth's theory of cosmic
> inflation, whereby space itself expanded very rapidly (i.e., faster than
> light speed) in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
> Guth discusses his theory with cosmologist Lee Smolin at

No, I know that part already. What I don't understand is why it isn't
a violation of special or general relativity for that to happen -- so
far as I knew your relative speed to another object in space could
never exceed c. (Or perhaps it is okay because of physics I don't
know. I was sort of reaching for more detail on this.)

Perry E. Metzger

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