The Hubble Deep Field May Prove That We Aren’t in a Simulation

Hubble Deep Field
Hubble Deep Field: dark sky is not empty even at this magnification (angle) and exposure (time), and galaxies are statistically distributed the same

I happened across the Hubble Deep Field image again today, and a thought occurred to me.

Some scientists question whether we exist in reality (a natural universe, that may be infinite or expanding) or a simulation (artificial construct). Others question whether time is something that flows or is just an anthropomorphic (human) perception.

If we are living in a simulation, normally it would not be apparent to us unless we detected discontinuities or limits.

There are microscopic observability limits according to our laws of particle physics that explain why we cannot keep “zooming in” more. The proposed experiments to prove or disprove simulation tend to be at this level, where our maximum perception would be at the possible simulation resolution. We would need to see beyond the resolution of the simulation at the Nyquist rate to verify if we are in a simulation, which by definition is not possible since that would be outside our frame of reference.

However, Hubble lets us see at the macroscopic level. The narrower the viewing angle or longer we expose the photo, the more detail (resolution) we see. Normally we interpret that as history (time for light to reach us at c), but if we live in a simulation, the detail means something different: it represents the relative effort in building the simulation and also resolution (grid spacing and/or timing.) For a long enough exposure time, we should be able to either see infinite detail (a complex reality), or not (a limited universe or a simulation.)

The above is true in the case that the arrow of time only goes forward. If the simulation can also be rewound, then the simulator operator can change our observations. (There is an analog to the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum physics, where only the final observation is meaningful, while non-observed intermediate results are not.)

Briggs’ Cosmology Theory: by repeating the Hubble Deep Field imaging with even smaller angles and/or more time, and statistically analyzing galaxy clustering and comparing the results with Hubble Deep Field and other images, we can verify if our universe is a simulation, assuming the arrow of time only goes forward.

Either way, win-win! 🙂

Some methods to detect discontinuities in time at least locally during our observations are to:

  • include a fast-moving predictable celestial object, like the moon, in the image
  • include many known objects that will move during our observation, and decide which positions to check after the observations (a type of zero-knowledge proof)
  • do continuous observation, so that going back in time doesn’t thwart our experiment
  • shine a laser pulse at the moon and time its return, or count pulsar bursts.

Additional Notes:

  • red-shift tends to confirm that we are living in an expanding universe, and would take more effort to simulate
  • but our success in understanding small forces (atomic, electrostatic) more so than gravity indicates we don’t know much about the “container” we exist in
  • Planck data, if it is high-enough resolution, could provide interesting statistical analysis to understand the structure of the universe. For studying simulation, it seems easier to do higher-resolution Deep Field imaging though.
  • an additional thought experiment is this: If there are lower limits on atomic scale, then we live in a grid anyway – one might think of even reality as a limited-resolution simulation.

Wikipedia: Hubble Deep Field, Simulation hypothesis
“the universe, statistically, looks the same in all directions.”
Saslaw: The Distribution of the Galaxies
Our quantum reality problem

Briggs’ Storage Law
Zero Knowledge Proofs: An illustrated primer
Scientific Quotes That Blur The Boundaries Between Mysticism and Science

Time Crystals

Another thought is that if particles in time crystals still exhibit motion after being cooled to absolute zero, then either we misunderstand the physics of absolute zero, or the injected energy could be a strobe/refresh from outside the simulation. (More likely it’s a cosmic ray or other energetic particle.)

W: Space-time crystal
HN: Can We Escape from Time?
Physicists Create World’s First Time Crystal
‘Time Crystals’ Could Upend Physicists’ Theory of Time we-might-live-in-a-computer-program-but-it-may-not-matter
A physicist is an atom’s way of knowing about atoms. — George Wald
New Evidence for the Strange Idea that the Universe Is a Hologram

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