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Is the age of the universe accurate? Options
Posted: Thursday, March 05, 2015 3:44:59 AM
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If gravity has a correlation to the passage of time (consider the black hole narrative in Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps) then as we regress back to the moment of the big bang wouldn't time accelerate as all of the matter of the universe recombined? And as such wouldn't the first moments of the big bang, even before the universe became translucent or before protons formed, taken millions or maybe even billions of years to occur? I am not arguing that the universe is only a few thousand years old but are the two ideas really mutually exclusive from different frames of reference? How old is the universe from outside of the universe? Has this effect of time been taken into consideration during the calculation of the universe's age?
Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015 9:35:04 AM

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Really interesting question, Luke! Thanks for posting.

I don't think I have enough physics under my belt to answer definitively; then again, does anyone? :)

Certainly, per relativity, time passes differently in different reference frames, especially at high energies, which we certainly would have had at the early moments of the big bang. I supposed the first question to answer might be: "does it even make sense to talk about something 'outside' of the universe"? I have heard scientists argue that that idea doesn't compute - that the universe is all that there is and can only be observed from within. However, in the eternal inflationary category of universe models, the bubble universe certainly involves the concept of being outside of a given universe. In fact, all of the multiverse theories do, don't they?

Even within this universe, relativistic effects are common, wherein time proceeds at different rates in different places. 13.7 billion years would seem to be just a subset of possible ages of the universe, from particular reference frames.

One thing is for sure, the word "universe" needs to be redefined!
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