Image of the Phoenix Constellation by NASA, CXC, SAO, and G.Schellenberger.
Image of the Phoenix Constellation by NASA, CXC, SAO, and G.Schellenberger.

Cosmic Queries – Edge of the Universe

Phoenix Constellation. Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/G.Schellenberger et al.; Optical: SDSS.
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About This Episode

What’s beyond the edge of the universe? Is there even an edge at all? On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson answers your fan-submitted questions about the mysteries, wonders, and theories that exist on the bleeding edge of cosmology. But in order to explore the true depths of the unknown we need to bring in a little extra help – enter astrophysicist Janna Levin, PhD. 

We start with the basics: is the universe infinite? Janna tells us why we’re still uncertain. We explore the idea of the multiverse and the idea of our universe never having an “edge.” Could those distant galaxies we see be our own galaxy in the past? As if that’s not mind-bending enough, we haven’t even gotten to the dimensionality questions yet. 

Find out more about other possible dimensions. We discuss why it’s so difficult to detect other dimensions, if they’re even there in the first place. Janna and Neil help us visualize a 4th dimension. You’ll hear why adding another dimension might provide too much freedom for molecules to bind together and create macroscopic things. We also explore the idea that our three dimensions are glued to a membrane that’s floating in a higher dimensional space. We reflect on Monsters, Inc. and how the film plays with moving through different dimensions.

Discover more about the shape of our universe. Could it be in the shape of a loop? We break down the Big Bang and the birth of the universe. Find out more about dark matter, dark energy, and if they’re two sides of the same coin. Janna explains why dark energy should be thought of as an invisible ocean. Investigate the “information” that lies on the surface of a black hole. We track Voyager 2’s journey into interstellar space and what that means for us back on Earth. All that, plus, Janna shares why she thinks the study of dark matter and dark energy are the most important fields of study in science today.  

Thanks to this week’s Patrons for supporting us: Paul Love, Sharon Coates, Jon Duey, Roy Hill-Percival, Jose Clark, Dr. Janet L. Walsh.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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