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Q & A: Do we feel acceleration in an accelerating universe?

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Most recent answer: 10/06/2014
Q:
If the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, and we (i.e., people and our galaxy) are accelerating away from other galaxies, why don't we feel that acceleration? Can the acceleration be detected with an accelerometer?
- Kevin Karn (age 53)
Osaka, Japan
A:

Hello Kevin,

Nice question.  The short answer is no.  The reason takes a bit of explanation of our weird and wonderful universe.  As far as we can tell, aside from local lumps of mass like stars and galaxies, it is rather uniform on large scales.  It is also infinite.   That means you can choose yourself as the center of the universe.   You look out and you see everything accelerating away from you.   You don't feel a thing.  The universe is simply expanding at an ever increasing rate.    Another person in a far and distant galaxy sees the same thing.  He would see you accelerating away from him but would not experience any acceleration either.

 

LeeH

Here's some old discussion touching on the question: . /mw


(published on 10/06/2014)

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