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One universe among many?

Research may open the way for a conceptual shift of Copernican proportions

By Martin Rees   May 2012

The Tarantula Nebula: the panorama that astronomers can observe could be a tiny part of the aftermath of our Big Bang

An astonishing concept has entered mainstream cosmological thought: physical reality could be hugely more extensive than the patch of space and time traditionally called “the universe.” We’ve learnt that we live in a solar system that is just one planetary system among billions, in one galaxy among billions. But there are signs that a further Copernican demotion confronts us. The entire panorama that astronomers can observe could be a tiny part of the aftermath of our Big Bang, which…

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