July 19, 2024
Is there a center of the cosmos, and if so, where is it?

Where is the center of the universe?

The universe is undeniably vast, and from our perspective, it may seem like Earth is in the middle of everything. But is there a center of the cosmos, and if so, where is it? If the Big Bang started the universe, then where did it all come from, and where is it going?

To start tackling these questions, let’s go back about 100 years. In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble made two amazing back-to-back discoveries: Early in the decade, he found that “island universes,” now known as galaxies, sit very far away from us; later that decade, he discovered that, on average, all galaxies are receding away from us.

Thankfully, there was already a handy theoretical explanation for all of this. Einstein‘s theory of general relativity had predicted that the universe was dynamic — either expanding or contracting. That contrasted with the prevailing view at the time: that the cosmos was perfectly static. And so it was up to a quartet of scientists working semi-independently to take Einstein’s equations at their word, developing what is now known as the Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker metric, the foundation of modern cosmology.