The collapsing Universe

By Martin Gradwell,, (


Note: All the links will to go the original site

what we can see ( shows how the actual appearance of the entire visible universe can arise from multiple images of a relatively small structure.

See background info ( for some information about the reason for this site, and the history behind it. In the text below I will cut straight to the details. The schematic diagram of collapse ( section is intended to further explain how light orbits the universe in my theory, and how collapse can look like expansion. The limits of vision ( shows how orbiting light results in multiple quasar images which merge into a homogeneous background.

The Summary:

Observed phenomena such as the Hubble redshift and the CMBR* can be explained by assuming:

The universe is in fact in a state of collapse, not expansion. This collapse results in redshift.

The universe is closed, and much smaller than the visible universe appears to be, and has a centre;

The visible universe is actually a collection of matter surrounded by multiple distorted images of itself. There is in fact only ONE quasar, located at the centre, and the many quasars which we detect are all multiple images of it.

Assumptions of universal homogeneity are incorrect because most of the matter of the universe is concentrated in the vicinity of the centre.

These ideas are all related, and need to be considered together.

(* Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation)

Collapse Results in Redshift

The Hubble redshift and the CMBR can be explained by assuming that the universe is in fact in a state of collapse, not expansion.

It is logical for collapse to result in redshift, rather than the blueshift that might at first be expected. As galaxies move closer together, their gravitational potential wells impinge more and more on the paths of light from more distant galaxies. This causes these paths to become more curved, and light paths between neighbouring galaxies are no exception to the general rule that a curved path is longer than a straight one. Because of this, paths to all but the very nearest galaxies are sure to lengthen gradually as the collapse progresses.

Redshift of more distant-seeming objects requires a slightly more detailed explanation. Because light can travel round the universe in closed orbits (see the small closed universe), The apparently distant objects can actually be images of local objects. For these images to become apparently more distant, the closed path needs to become longer, which will happen if it becomes straighter. An ellipse becomes larger if it becomes less curved. If a beam of light has circumnavigated the universe several times prior to being detected, it will be subject to lengthening in each orbit, so that the total redshift is proportional to apparent distance.

If this is not clear, there is a further explanation accompanying the Schematic diagram (

Our motion with respect to the CMBR is evidence for collapse

600 km/hr, our speed with respect to the CMBR frame, is a very high velocity, when compared to all other known real velocities of material objects (e.g. the rate of approach of the Andromeda Galaxy; the speed of the sun's orbit around the galactic centre). It is only small in comparison to the (in my opinion) fictitious velocities attributed to extremely distant red-shifted objects by current theory.

This implies that there is a very great material imbalance (the Great Attractor in one direction, with nothing comparable in the opposite direction), and this imbalance affects the velocities of galaxies over a vast area.

The CMBR *IS* Redshifted Starlight

The cosmology FAQ ( states "Can the CMBR be redshifted starlight? NO!" and goes on to explain how stars have spectral lines, and how the mix of light at different temperatures from different layers in a star does not result in a blackbody spectrum, and claims that further mixing would make matters worse.

- This ignores the fact that spectral lines in distant quasars aren't just redshifted - they are broadened too. In the limit, they are broadened beyond recognition. It becomes impossible to discern them, so that the spectrum is essentially featureless. Also, the spectra which are summed have every temperature, all the way down to zero, which is not the case when light from different layers within a star is mixed.

The Small Closed Universe

The universe is closed, and much smaller than the visible universe appears to be, and has a centre.The visible universe is actually a collection of matter surrounded by multiple distorted images of itself;

By closed, I mean that even light can be considered to be following orbits within the universe; that, no matter how far light gets from any concentration of matter, it will always eventually be drawn back to a matter-dominated region, and may visit the vicinity of its source several times before being absorbed or detected. Because of this, apparently distant objects (especially those beyond an apparent distance of one billion light years) may lie in directions very different from their apparent directions, and may be images of local objects.

If this is not clear, there is a further explanation attached to the diagram of What we can see (

Bending of Light

It is remarkable how the possibility of light bending is generally ignored, except when examining very closely related and obviously lensed pairs of images, even though there is visible bending of beams of light even within our solar system, due to the action of just one star, and even though orbiting light is a significant element in the study of 'black holes'. So, background radiation arriving at earth from opposite directions is said to come from very different parts of the 'cosmic fireball' from which the radiation supposedly originated; parts which are located in opposite directions from us. Since it is assumed that the radiation was formed when the universe was 300,000 years old, * there are serious problems to be addressed, with regard to how these widely separated regions came to be so similar in characteristics. 'Inflation' addresses these problems by assuming initial densities and rates of expansion which are literally incomprehensible; however, if we accept that light can orbit, then the problems disappear, so there is no need to contemplate such drastic solutions. Apparently separate regions of space look similar because they are in fact the same region, viewed by using light which has traversed different paths.

(* Prior to this time photons were subject to constant scattering, but since then they have been travelling in straight lines, we are told. Ref: 'The inflationary Universe' by Alan H Guth, 1997).

Nonhomogeneous Universe

Assumptions of universal homogeneity are incorrect because most of the matter of the universe is concentrated in the vicinity of the centre; Again, that is what is observed; quasars are generally seen surrounded by large clusters of galaxies. The 'Great Attractor' is drawing in galaxies over a region hundreds of millions of light years across. It represents a great imbalance in the mass distribution of the universe, which affects vast numbers of galaxies, and which has given our galaxy a speed with respect to the CMBR frame of 600 km/sec.

Note that object on the other side of the Great attractor are drawn in our direction, just as we are drawn in theirs. This is a well acknowledged fact, which nevertheless does not result in a single distant galaxy being blueshifted (we are told, because the "Hubble flow" dominates - whatever that may mean. The much simpler explanation is that the redshift is caused by collapse, but the attaching of new labels to otherwise unexplained phenomena is a much more popular approach, at least for now).

The Centre of the Universe

I postulate a centre because that is what is observed, and because the effect of gravity is to draw any finite collection of matter towards a centre. The universe, within a radius of a billion light years, is highly non-homogeneous. If the actual physical universe has a radius of this order, then the apparent homogeneity of more distant regions is explained by considering that these regions actually contain multiple distorted images of the universe, viewed at different angles and at different stages in its evolution.

Note how this all follows from the simple observation that gravity is universally attractive - that it has the same effect between galaxies as it has between apples. This same simple fact ensures that there will be extremely massive compact objects at the centre of each galaxy, formed by the infall of stars and gas. This is what is observed. There will be an even greater concentration of mass where these galaxies come together.

The existence of a centre, together with ongoing collapse, means that in my model the universe is essentially the interior of a black hole, but with nothing outside it. This means that the supermassive objects at the centres of galaxies cannot actually be black holes, for the simple reason that black holes do not form nesting structures. Light can and does escape from these objects, especially when they fall into the central singularity. (A pedant might say that the light doesn't actually escape then, because it can get no further than the edge of the universe).

The Central Superclusters

About 150 Million light years away from us, in the direction of the Hydra - Centarurus supercluster but about twice as far away, lies the Great Attractor. On the same side of the sky there are the Virgo supercluster (of which the local supercluster is a part); a large cluster of Galaxies in Corona Borealis, apparently more than a billion light years distant, and an even larger cluster in Coma Berenices, a thousand galaxies apparently 400 million light years distant.

In the opposite direction there is a relative dearth of local clusters. There's the Fornax custer, a small cluster about fifty million light years away, and the so-called Perseus-Pisces supercluster, actually a thin filament of small clusters stretching for forty degrees across the sky with an average apparent distance of 240 million light years.

The clusters which lie closer to the great attractor than we do are apparently more evolved. They contain colliding galaxies, and giant radio galaxies which are apparently produced by the coalescence of several smaller galaxies.

Interpretation: At the centre of the universe there is a giant supercluster of infalling galaxies, which includes our own. This structure is only approximately spherical, and has protuberances and indentations where the mutual attraction of galaxies has caused local clumping. In the opposite direction from the centre there is a comparative void. Apparently distant superclusters, regardless of the direction in which they apparently lie, will for the most part be images of the one central conglomeration. Where we appear to see spherical voids surrounded by sheets of galaxies, this is an optical illusion caused by the bending of light.

An analogy: If light was very strongly bent by gravity, so that it could not escape from the earth, then in every part of the sky we would see images of parts of the earth. If we assumed that everything was actually located in the place where it appeared to be, then it would seem as if we were on the inside of a hollow sphere, not on the outside of a solid one. An apparently distant part of this sphere could in fact be an image of our local area, produced by light which has completely orbited the earth before returning. Everything would of course have to be seen by its own light, of course, because there would be no illumination from the sun in these conditions.

The Quasar at the Centre

There is only ONE quasar, located at the centre, and that the many quasars which we detect are all multiple images of it;

The universe is not a Black Hole,because it has no exterior, but it is in many ways like one. The quasar is akin to a singularity. It is constantly drawing matter in; it can radiate many times more light than an entire galaxy, because it regularly swallows entire galaxies. If there were two or more such centres of attraction, gravity would inevitably have drawn them together into one, long before today. Because there is only one, the term 'singularity' is singularly appropriate to describe this object.

Note that, unlike a "Black Hole", the quasar is free to pour out energy at any rate, because it does not have an event horizon. The analogy with a black hole could be pursued by claiming that the postulated edge of the universe is an event horizon, but this would not alter the fact that, with the quasar being effectively "naked" from our perspective, it is free to emit energy in any quantity, and therefore to act as a perfect matter-to-energy converter and recycler. Though it will fluctuate greatly in size and output, there is not necessarily any trend towards increasing size.

I am assuming that the Great Attractor can be equated with the central quasar because Occam's razor is extremely persuasive here. An object which draws in matter over a radius of hundreds of millions of light years, and an object which can emit more energy than a large collection of galaxies, are unlikely to be separate and distinct objects. If we do not perceive the Great Attractor as a quasar, it is because it happens to be hidden by the plane of the galaxy, or perhaps because the quasar is periodically quiescent, and is currently in a quiescent state (or was 150 million years ago, when the light which we can now detect from it started on its journey).

The Ancient Universe

If the CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation) is redshifted starlight that has circumnavigated the universe a great many times, it follows that there have been stars for much longer than is commonly supposed, and that current estimates of the age of the universe are gross underestimates.

Accelerating Collapse

If the apparent expansion of the universe is caused by its actual slow collapse, then it stands to reason that the apparent expansion will accelerate, because the actual collapse will. Thus, the reported finding that expansion is accelerating is a significant piece of circumstantial evidence.

In Ned Wright's cosmology FAQ, under the heading 'Why do we think that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating?' We are told clearly and unambiguously that the expansion does indeed appear to be accelerating.

A Steady State Collapse

A constant infall of matter towards the centre of the universe might be expected to result in an eventual end - a "big crunch". However, this expectation arises only if we ignore the fact that there is a balancing motion of radiation from the centre towards the edges of the universe; if we consider that part of this radiation interacts with other radiation to produce matter near the edge, we can see the makings of a complete cycle.

There is a constant infalling particle rain near the edges of the universe. This condenses into clouds of gas, and eventually into stars and galaxies. These become more and more clumped, and subject to collision, until eventually they fuel the central quasar.

This could in principle continue indefinitely. Purely stellar processes would lead to a build up of heavy elements until eventually there was no hydrogen left; but the quasar takes all elements, and converts them to energy, with no residue. It is the ultimate recycling system.

This cycle resembles the popular 'stars' screen saver, but time-reversed, so that stars and galaxies constantly form at the edges and fall inwards to the centre, where they are consumed.

This means that the universe is actually an extremely challenging place in which to live, but there is never a time when continued existence is everywhere impossible. There is no periodic wiping of the slate, followed by a totally new start. However, for a species to continue to exist indefinitely, it has to become adept at "climbing up the down escalator". Most intelligent species will be to some extent preoccupied with this task. They will not aim at galactic territorial expansion, because the territory has limited value if it is all scheduled for eventual destruction. That is why predictions about life eventually filling every corner of the universe are incorrect.

If the collapse is balanced by the formation of new galaxies, then there is effectively a steady state, or perhaps a cyclic development in which the universe varies over time but is never entirely compressed to a point.

This can be reconciled with the apparently increasing galactic density, and associated redshift, by understanding that we see the universe from the local perspective of observers on an infalling galaxy. From that perspective, there does indeed appear to be a continual increase in density, because we are continually moving towards a region of greater density. If we could depart from our galaxy and head rapidly away from the Great Attractor, we would see a different picture.