For a couple of centuries, there’s been a move in science to disavow any notion that the Earth is in any way situated in a favoured position in the Universe.
As soon as we managed to get over ourselves, and the Biblical notion that we were at the centre of creation, we began believing that there was nothing preferred about our corner of the All.
Now a South African cosmologist has put forward what may turn out to be a spanner in the works of the Relativistic View.
The problem seems to be the extraordinary behaviour of space in our direct vicinity. To cut a long story short: According to the Seffrican scientist (note to Cat: he appears to be a Quaker!) ,space appears to be expanding faster closer to us than further away.
We can tell this, you see, by looking at supernovae and becoming really surprised when some of them appear to be at inexplicably large distances from us.
It’s an effect which we’ve tried hard to explain by invoking Dark Matter – although said Matter is proving really elusive. This idea that we’re situated in the middle of a relatively low-density area of space is another way we could explain what it is we are seeing – the supernovae were actually racing away from us a lot faster than the rest of the universe, only a little while ago.
Note: in astronomy, a little while amounts to a couple of billion years.
If our home-grown cosmologist’s intuition is correct, it would mean that Einstein’s assumption (and everybody else since him) that one area of space time is indistinguishable from another-one of the foundations of the Special Theory of Relativity-is blown out of the water.
There would, in other words, be something special about our location in creation.