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A popular theory is that the universe is expanding- based on observations of distant galaxies.Could it not be equally true that this is because the solar system is being sucked into a black hole at the centre of the universe?

asked in physics

imfeduptoo answers:

Probably not - the universe is supposed to be expanding in all directions so parts of it are going away from where the black hole would be.

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siasl74 answers:

If the solar system was being sucked into a black hole at the centre of the universe then so would everything else. We're actually on the edge of the universe, a long way down one of the spiral arms, so for a black hole to be massive enough to be sucking us in it would have to be taking the rest of the universe with it. If that was the case, then the universe would be contracting, and we would be getting closer to all our neighbouring galaxies - we'd probably be able to detect that (as well as the black hole).

Supplement from 01/23/2009 11:03am:

Sorry - got confused between universe & galaxy. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has us near the edge of it. It also has a black hole in the middle.

Here's a map of what we know of the universe (you can zoom in to find the map of the Milky Way):

It would take an insanely massive black hole to suck in entire multiple galaxies - the largest we currently know of is not big enough to do that (it's here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OJ_287 ). This type is a "super massive black hole" - no-one has yet characterised an "insanely massive black hole" (I call dibs on the origin of the name, if we ever discover one!).

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robinsamuels answers:

Guesswork here!

There is evidence that there is a black hole at the centre of the milky way, causing the rotation that we see in the photos.

If you spin something fast enough, the outer edges move away due to centrifugal force. Perhaps that could be happening.

Most likely, though, is continuing expansion after the big bang.

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Leohuberh answers:

It is important to stress that other observations support the view that there is no centre to the universe, at least in so far as observations can reach. The fact that the universe is expanding uniformly would not rule out the possibility that there is some denser, hotter place that might be called the centre, but careful studies of the distribution and motion of galaxies confirm that it is homogeneous on the largest scales we can see, with no sign of a special point to call the centre.
Big Bang was an explosion of space, not an explosion in space.


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