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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    In this YouTube video, it's pointed out (among other things) that if you map a timeline from the big bang to heat death (estimated at 100 trillion years) on a cosmic calendar, we're at 1:12 AM on January 1st. My Google-fu has failed to find any images of this; I've found the obvious ones where humanity is like the last minute of the year, but not where it's showing just how early we are in the estimated life of the universe. Anyone know of any such cosmic calendar images?

    Reason I'm looking, and sharing the vid, is because I like to think that the reason we aren't finding (concrete) evidence of ancient aliens... is because we're the ancients that will leave ruins for others to find, if we're lucky enough to get beyond the solar system or leave something sufficiently durable to last till the next form of sapient life that is.
    Last edited by Avigor; 2020-11-18 at 01:56 AM. Reason: corrected the time the vid says we're at, dunno how I mixed up and put PM when it didn't specify and when you look at the math it does point towards it being AM...

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    In terms of thinking about other civilizations existing or not, the right units to use should be the time from star formation to the emergence of civilization, rather than units of universe-age.

    That said, for anything really cosmic, you probably want to be using a log scale for time (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphi..._to_Heat_Death). So we're about a little more than halfway (on log scale) through what they call 'the Stelliferous era'.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Repeating NichG's point that going from the big bang to the heat death includes a lot of time that life as we know it would be hard pressed to exist. Just the era in which stars are possible is a better timeline to look at, and even from a flat perspective we're roughly in the middle of that.

    Also, the whole "just shy of midnight" to show how recent human civilization is does interact with the sheer size of just our galaxy, to say nothing of the universe at large. Any signal we might have sent wouldn't have had the time to get past our relative backyard, and lightspeed delays mean that we couldn't meaningfully interact with anybody else out there. If we did find an unambiguous alien transmission, we'd have no idea what had happened to the originating civilization in the intervening time. So while an enterprising advanced civilization farther out in the milky way might be able to spot that our planet is life bearing, we're finding increasing evidence that life is unlikely to be super rare all on its own. Technological life that they could meaningfully interact with would not be something they'd be able to see any meaningful signs of.

    Edit to add: The original Fermi paradox did ask why we didn't see any signs of major stellar engineering, which we might assume a society might hit if it had a continual progress slope and enough time. There's enough space between technological life equal to or slightly ahead of us, and engineering feats visible from another solar system. (Plus lightspeed visibility issues, again.) I do hope that something human descended does manage to leave an imprint beyond our own planet and that makes alien astronomers look on with interest, but I know that anything resembling humans as we know them will be long gone by that point.
    Last edited by Anymage; 2020-11-17 at 12:21 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Repeating NichG's point that going from the big bang to the heat death includes a lot of time that life as we know it would be hard pressed to exist. Just the era in which stars are possible is a better timeline to look at, and even from a flat perspective we're roughly in the middle of that.
    The Stelliferous Era will go to around 100 trillion years from the beginning of the universe (the error bars on that estimate are measured in trillions of years, so there's some serious flexibility involved). At 13.8 billion years old, the universe is only about one ten-thousandth of the way through that period.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    In terms of thinking about other civilizations existing or not, the right units to use should be the time from star formation to the emergence of civilization, rather than units of universe-age.

    That said, for anything really cosmic, you probably want to be using a log scale for time (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphi..._to_Heat_Death). So we're about a little more than halfway (on log scale) through what they call 'the Stelliferous era'.
    Minor point of order on this: that map goes from ticks that are tiny fractions of a second to ticks that are orders of magnitude bigger than googols, so yeah if they had the whole thing actually to scale we'd be nowhere near the middle.

    That said, yeah to be more realistic we should map from when stars start, which the linked graph estimates at 100 million years (unless we want to allow for life forming within nebulae which I don't think we have evidence for), to end somewhere around stars ceasing, albeit afaict 100 trillion is close enough (cause that's supposed to be the backend of the Stelliferous Era and my google-fu failed to find any other estimates of when the last yellow stars should die, which was my attempt to find an earlier end date from a reasonable source) as the end of the calendar, but even then with my most generous "we're not that early" estimate of 100 million to 100 trillion with us at 13.8 billion, I'm looking at (I'm primarily using Windows Calculator because it's not assigning E's like google's calculator wanted to and I'm too lazy atm to try and hand-calc this):
    100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion estimated heat death)
    -100,000,000 (100 million first star)
    =99,999,900,000,000 (window of time for life in years)
    /365.249 (to take into account leap year rules and reduce the years per day slightly)
    =273,785,554,512.12734326445794512784 (years per day)
    /24
    =11,407,731,438.005305969352414380327 (years per hour)
    so divide 13,800,000,000 by that... you get 1.2097058977058977058977058977059 hours, the decimal equating to 12.582353862353862 minutes... yeah I mixed up the AM and PM in that first post (even just double-checked the vid, they don't say PM, I must've misunderstood that point, I'll edit in a minute) so yeah we're still talking we haven't even gotten through January 1st on such a cosmic calendar, unless someone can provide an earlier end time that makes sense.

    conclusion: we're still looking at the human species being pretty darn early in the grand cosmic scale of the universe...

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avigor View Post
    Reason I'm looking, and sharing the vid, is because I like to think that the reason we aren't finding (concrete) evidence of ancient aliens... is because we're the ancients that will leave ruins for others to find, if we're lucky enough to get beyond the solar system or leave something sufficiently durable to last till the next form of sapient life that is.
    I think it's simpler than that. I think it's more a matter of space being really really big. You could have really quite a lot of intelligent life and not have it run into each other. Let's posit the existence of say, 200 million different species of intelligent life in the observable universe. That sounds like a lot - it's considerably more than Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr.Who, and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy combined - but you have to consider that there's estimated to be somewhere between 200 billion and 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe, so even with 200 million intelligent species you'd only have about a 1 in 1000 chance of having another one in the same galaxy. And intergalactic distances are more or less insurmountable. If you could get your ship up to 99.5% of the speed of light and take advantage of the time dilation it would still about 250000 years to get to the nearest galaxy. And even an alcubierre drive wouldn't get you there much faster from your own perspective (in fact, it would be more or less the same amount of time, 250000 years, the difference being that observers would clock the same time, whereas an outside observer of the 99.5%c ship would see it as taking 2.5 million years to complete its journey)
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Interstellar distances can only be done with dimension hopping or time travel. Not enough fiction about sending ships back and forth in time to when different objects were close to your current location.

    The milky way has a relative to CBR speed of 1.3 million miles per hour, which is a fraction of lightspeed. But assuming time travel is possible it is almost certainly faster to just go back or forward in time than across space.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2020-11-18 at 07:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Let's posit the existence of say, 200 million different species of intelligent life in the observable universe. That sounds like a lot - it's considerably more than Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr.Who, and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy combined -
    Fun fact! While that is a true statistic (and also keeping in mind that these are all fictional so the numbers can be increased to whatever the writers want), that's roughly analogous to saying, "imagine a million square miles. That's more than Alaska, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut combined!"

    Technically you could forget Connecticut there, since HHGG estimated the population of life in their universe at roughly zero.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think it's simpler than that. I think it's more a matter of space being really really big. You could have really quite a lot of intelligent life and not have it run into each other. Let's posit the existence of say, 200 million different species of intelligent life in the observable universe. That sounds like a lot - it's considerably more than Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr.Who, and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy combined - but you have to consider that there's estimated to be somewhere between 200 billion and 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe, so even with 200 million intelligent species you'd only have about a 1 in 1000 chance of having another one in the same galaxy. And intergalactic distances are more or less insurmountable. If you could get your ship up to 99.5% of the speed of light and take advantage of the time dilation it would still about 250000 years to get to the nearest galaxy. And even an alcubierre drive wouldn't get you there much faster from your own perspective (in fact, it would be more or less the same amount of time, 250000 years, the difference being that observers would clock the same time, whereas an outside observer of the 99.5%c ship would see it as taking 2.5 million years to complete its journey)
    That isn't really relevant. There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy, so if on average only 1 in a 100 trillion has life, despite a decent number of them having Earthlike planets, that would be pretty weird and demand some sort of explanation. The size of the observable universe never enters into it.

    If you've looked at millions of dice and none of them have come up 1, it makes sense to say "maybe they have billions of sides" or "maybe they're all loaded" or "maybe someone arranged them in some way instead of rolling them," but "there quintillions of dice that you haven't looked at" is not a valid explanation by itself even if true.
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    Default Re: Cosmic Calendar that shows how early we are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Interstellar distances can only be done with dimension hopping or time travel. Not enough fiction about sending ships back and forth in time to when different objects were close to your current location.

    The milky way has a relative to CBR speed of 1.3 million miles per hour, which is a fraction of lightspeed. But assuming time travel is possible it is almost certainly faster to just go back or forward in time than across space.
    The only one I can think of is Space Dandy, where the warp drive works by transporting your ship to an alternate dimension/timeline where everything else is the same except that you're already where you wanted to be.

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