I keep trying to refine this idea. As I get it more organized I repost it. I am just about ready to send it to 20 or 30 professional astronomers and see what they think about it. If you see something particularly stupid here please let me know before they do.
When I look at “The Expansion of the Universe”, I see a massive dichotomy.
Everyone basically agrees that the universe is expanding and the galaxies are moving away from each other. The farther away they are the faster they are moving apart. Every new astronomy student hears the expanding Universe described as being comparable to a balloon or to a cake with raisins stirred into it. As the cake raises, the raisins move apart. If two raisins are half an inch apart and the cake doubles in size they will then be one inch apart. However, if they start at two inches apart and the cake doubles they will be four inches apart. The farther apart they are the faster they recede from each other. But, they always move away from each other at some rate of speed. The raisins are used to symbolize galaxies.
But, everyone also knows that in the world of real galaxies; everywhere we look, within say a few billion years; everything is coming together into super mega-clusters and walls. All of those billions of galaxies! They are not moving away from each other they are moving toward each other! In the real universe, the raisins are forming into clumps, and clusters, and super clusters and walls. The cake explanation does not conform at all to what we see in the Universe.
A long time ago, galaxies were expanding from each other very rapidly: almost at the speed of light. That was plus or minus fifteen billion years ago. What has happened to that expansion today? We just don’t know! We have absolutely no idea of what is happening fifteen billion light years from us, at this instant. The only things we know about the present, is what we can see within a few light years. Astronomers are historians, not news reporters. Astronomy deals almost exclusively with “old news”.
Cosmologists generally agree that if there is enough matter in the Universe it will expand for awhile and then contract. This is the closed universe model. Gravity will slowly gain control of all matter. When it has, the universe will start to contract. How could we tell if it started to contract? How would we know it was contracting rather than expanding.
Most people tell me the Hubble Constant is the proof it is still expanding. We can see that the farther away we look, the faster space is expanding. The red shift lets us know it is still expanding. The problem with that is; the light that is red shifted left its source fifteen billion years ago. Even I agree it was expanding back then. But that gives us no clue as to what is happening now.
So, how would we know if The Universe were contracting?
This contraction would first be noticed in the home galaxy. Then the local group would start to move together. In the beginning of the Local Group’s contraction the cluster would still be expanding, though at a reduced rate.
In another few million years or so, the Cluster would start to move together, but the Super-Cluster would still be expanding, though at a reduced rate. Of course in real time the entire Universe would stop concurrently (or thereabouts), but because of the look back into time we can only observe the contraction within the number of light years since the contraction began. Before that time, it was still expanding.
In other words if the universe came to dead stop say one billion years ago, what would we see now? Well, we should see our own Galaxy perhaps having a slight contraction. Our local group should be generally trending toward blue shift, though the proper motions of the bodies would ameliorate this to some degree. Our cluster would be a trifle into the blue. Our super-cluster would be red shifted but decreasingly so.
These are exactly the conditions we find today. Our home galaxy is stable. In our local group: the Magellanic clouds are in the process of merging into the Milky Way, as are Sagittarius, and Canis Major among a number of others. The Andromeda Galaxy is closing on us, while also merging with M32, M33, and M110 amongst others. The entire local group is moving toward the Virgo Cluster. Which is moving toward the Virgo Super-Cluster.
This meets all of the conditions for contraction of the closed model of the Universe. Why then would we still think that the universe is continuing to expand? It seems to me the reason for this is that it is less than 100 years since we found out there was an expansion. It was quite a discovery since everyone at that time thought the universe was static, even Hubble!
Since we were not around when the Milky Way was expanding, we didn’t notice it stopping. The same applies to the local group! We didn’t see it expanding so we think it was always gravity bound. We have never really dealt with the question of "Why isn’t space expanding between us and the other galaxies in the local cluster?" We just say they are gravity bound and let it go at that. GRAVITY BOUND LOCAL AREAS IS ONE OF THE FIRST CHARACTERISTICS OF A CONTRACTING UNIVERSE!
The Hubble constant says that in the distant past the Universe was expanding very rapidly. The closer we get to the present the slower the Universe is expanding. We generally hear the constant used to describe what happens to light shift based on how far away galaxies are from the Earth. The farther away the galaxies, the faster they are receding and the higher their red-shift. But the constant doesn't really deal with distance; it deals with time. The farther in the past, the more expansion.
If we see a galaxy that is red-shifted, is it necessarily moving away from us? Of course not! It just means it was once moving away. What is happening to galaxies ten billion light years away from us at this moment? We have no idea what is happening to them. We really know very little about what is happening in the universe at present.
The blue-shifted light we see from Andromeda left there over two million years ago. All we know is that it was moving toward us two million years ago; not what it is doing today! Hubble deals with what was happening in the past, not with what is happening now.
The farther that we go into the past the faster the universe was expanding and the closer that we get to the present, the slower the universe is expanding. This is not theory; this is what we observe.
Occam’s razor say’s the simplest explanation that fits all of the facts is probably the correct one. The simplest explanation for the data is that the expansion of the universe has stopped.
If I am correct, we should be able to find a roughly spherical horizon around Earth inside of which most bodies are being drawn together and outside of which they are expanding from each other. Those at the horizon being generally stable. Proper motion will cause some problems in finding this horizon, but should not prevent its being found.
If you think some of the data or conclusions presented here are incorrect, please contact Bud Camp. The humility might do me some good. If you agree with them also please let me know.